The Greatest Picture in the World

The Greatest Picture in the World

Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!  
Ps. 148:3-4

The song Tribute is a ballad about an imaginary encounter with a demon. The demon challenges the band, Tenacious D, to play the best song in the world. The band members, Jack Black and Kyle Gass, accept the challenge and end up playing the greatest song in the world. However, as the song goes, they forgot the song. They keep trying to convince us that they really did sing the greatest song in the world.

Several years ago, I had my own “Tribute” moment. One Christmas I took the greatest picture of all time. We were staying at my in-law’s house in rural southwestern Minnesota. On a bitterly cold night, I woke up at two o’clock in the morning to capture an image mulled over in my head for months.

After bundling up to endure the below zero temperatures, I walked out to the end of their very long driveway. The prairie landscape provides an incredible panoramic view of the sky. From this vantage point, the house looked like a tiny cabin lit by one small exterior light. The house was surrounded by an enormous cloudless, star-filled sky.

The picture turned out exactly as I had hoped. It was the greatest picture in the world. Except, somewhere in the electronic world of digital image storage, I lost it. It’s gone and I cannot find it. You really have to believe me, it was the greatest picture in the world. Matter of fact, it keeps getting better every time I tell the story about it.

A part of me hopes I never find it. The image in my head is probably much better than the actual picture. However, it was not the quality of the snapshot, but the story it told which made it great. A house full of people quietly sleeping while the universe spins around them. Slumbering souls are completely oblivious to the grand activity of life which knows no rest. In the daytime, this house will seem like the center of the universe. But this night, an image of truth, their life is nothing more than a tiny microscopic speck of dust in the universe.

The house was not small, nor the life in it insignificant. Quite the contrary, they represent just how unique, rare, and precious we are in the universe. The stars and moon understand it and sing. The psalm we read today invites us to join the song. Give thanks for those things which are precious, the life we share.

Click to read: Psalm 148

Reflection Questions:

  • When have you done something great and no one noticed or saw it?
  • How did it make you feel? Do we need others to confirm its greatness?
  • What image do you feel captures the truth of the universe?
  • How precious do you consider life? And, how do you celebrate ordinary life?

Photo by Alan Chen on Unsplash

Liked it? Take a second to support Eric Elkin on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *