Heathdale flower 22nd August 2019

Are We Ordinary or Marvellously Unique?

We obsess over reality TV, but is it because we're ordinary, or marvellously unique?

Heathdale flower

Over the past 20 years, reality TV shows have dominated our screens. One of the earliest reality shows was ‘Sylvania Waters’, which hit the airways in the early 1990s. A film crew spent over two months in the home of an ordinary couple who were supposedly living an ordinary life in an ordinary suburb on the Gold Coast. It was meant to demonstrate how ordinary people live. I can remember watching for 10 minutes one day and thinking to myself, “Well, that’s 10 minutes I’ll never get back!”

Recently, I read about a 2005 exhibition at the London Zoo that went one step further in this obsession with the ‘ordinary’. The four-day exhibit was called ‘Humans in their Natural Environment.’ To help zoo patrons understand the humans (picked from an on-line contest), the zoo staff created signs detailing their diet, habitat and threats. According to the exhibition’s curator, one of the goals of the exhibit was to downplay the uniqueness of human beings.

Polly Wills, spokesperson for the zoo, said, “Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate," Wills went on to say, "A lot of people think humans are above all other animals. When they see humans as animals here, it reminds us that we're not that special."

One of the participants in the exhibition agreed and also remarked, “We humans are really not that special!”

What a stark contrast to the words recorded in Psalms 139, where King David writes;

“For you created my innermost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb, I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14-15

In this incredibly reflective Psalm, David begins by celebrating God’s intimate knowledge of him and God’s all-encompassing presence. Like the master weaver, God not only formed the intricacies of David’s internal and external features, but also made us with a living soul, giving us spiritual life with the ability to intimately relate to God. As David contemplates God’s handiwork, he responds with a deep sense of awe, wonder and praise.

David’s Psalm declares that human beings are special! David wants us to understand and appreciate that we are special simply because God has created us with marvellous uniqueness and the awesome ability to have an intimate, personal relationship with Him.

There are many ways this world would try to tell us we are no more significant or different to any other animal species on this planet. Therefore, we have nothing we can be thankful for, nor should we think there is anything unique about us.

Yet the very thing I would desire is that each student at Heathdale will not only know, but experience deep within their beings, that each and every one of us is marvellously unique. Not because we are superior to any other species on the planet but because we are God’s. We are the result of His workmanship, of His loving hands!

As you travel through this day, may each of us see ourselves in the same manner God sees us. We are marvellously unique because we are His!