NH Senate chamber

Feb. 15: Reflection and prayer before the NH Senate

Senate Reflection on Psalm 90:4

Donald Knuth began writing his life’s work, The Art of Computer Programming, in 1962. Since then he has written three volumes and is currently working on a fourth volume. Now: computers have change a lot since 1962. I’m amazed that these books are able to remain a standard reference work for computer programmers even when the books were first conceived 55 years ago.

When the pace of change is fast, how can Don Knuth stay on top of it all? He doesn’t. He refuses to. He acknowledges that his “role in life” is not “to be on top of things. But …[his] role is to be on the bottom of things.”

When the pace of change is fast, when the deadlines are frequent and short, we make an effort to slow down, to find things that don’t change, values that endure, the truths that are the most fundamental. We prefer not to “stay on top of things,” but rather “on the bottom of things.”


Let us pray. Eternal God, for whom “a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past,” we are about to walk into the State of the State address and we fly toward crossover day, keep us rooted in our values, that we speak to each other on the deep level of the heart and so find, for ourselves and for others, peace. Amen.