Tag Archives: astronomy

We Need Only Look

Has anyone ever told you “You need only look?” All around us life itself is screaming out that it is. Life is alive, there is more than the mundane and it is there for us to see it. I am constantly amazed by the work of astronomers and particle physicists. On one hand they are reaching out and seeing life billions of light years away and on the other they strip away the layers that build life like that of an onion, getting ever smaller and finding more wonder.

Astronomers say that the universe is 13 billion lights years across. I would like to go to the very edge and stick my hand through and beyond the boundary to find out what is beyond. Particle physicists say they have found the “God particle” that is the basis for everything. I wonder what they will find when they build a bigger super collider and split that particle, something even smaller I should wonder.

But what about you and me, what can we see if we look around us? One of my favorite books is “The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery (add an apostrophe above the e). It is a whimsical tale for children of all ages (even age 64). He was a French pilot both before WWII and during it, where he died. Another book he wrote is titled “Wind, Sand and Stars” in which he talks about his time as a pilot over the deserts of Africa, the Andes Mountains and the Pyrenees in Europe. This was all during the time flying was in its infancy and was very lonely and dangerous.

The last two and a half pages tell of his traveling by rail on a long journey. At one o’clock in the morning he had the urge to tour the rail cars throughout its length. When he came upon the third class coaches he found them full of Polish workmen being sent home from France back to Poland. The book was first copyrighted in 1939 so this was on the eve of WWII and was a time of great turmoil throughout the land. De Saint-Exupery noted that they all looked like they had lost half of their humanity. He sat down and observed a couple asleep and noticed a child wedged between them. The thought that struck him upon looking closely at this child was that they had the face of a musician, that this child was a Mozart, a life full of beautiful promise. Yet, De Saint-Exupery concluded, this little Mozart will be shaped like the rest by the common stamping machine. He would grow up to love shoddy music and that this Mozart would be condemned.

We need only look and we too shall see this life around us, the lives stamped out by what is accepted as okay, never reaching the highest levels each of us can achieve. At the same time we can go out and see a sunset, the stars at night or any one of hundreds of different things that show forth the wonder of life and all that are good. We need the vision of each end of the spectrum to keep us in balance and that keep us striving to improve our world and all that call it home.

Less than a half page later De Saint-Exupery ends his book with a statement that really struck home with me in several ways. His statement, “Only the Spirit, if it breathes life upon the clay, can create Man.” I love that statement. Yes, we are clay, from the dust we can and from the dust we shall return. It is only when the Spirit breathes upon us that life is truly created. We need only look and we need only bring the life of the Spirit with us to find life.


Rev 21:1-3, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”  The Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos saw something he had never seen, something he really did not know what he was seeing, but he saw it.  We each see as we understand and we relate what we have seen in terms we know.  It is true for John and it is true for you and for me.

Tonight when I went to bed I thought about what I had been watching on TV and it included the movie Star Trek and Thor.  Now Star Trek is a 50 year old franchise of science fiction and in it man goes where he has not gone before, strange new worlds, and he goes boldly.  But the key word here is fiction.  It is man’s concept of that which does not exist.  From a logical perspective it all could be; the science of warp speed, transporters, strange new worlds and other civilizations make sense.  From a pure astronomical point of view we know there are billions of galaxies and billions of stars within each of those galaxies and that there must be billions of planets in each one so therefore there should be billions of other worlds complete with beings and some of them must be older than us and some must also be younger, some more advanced and some not as advanced as we are.  Makes sense to me and a lot of people think so.  But the bottom line is we don’t know.  What we do know is what we know and for each of us that is contained in our history.

Now one thing we do know and that is recorded in history is that there was a man named Jesus Christ.  He was born, he lived and he died.  We have records of his life and records of how he died, actually how he was murdered.  And these records say He claimed to be God’s own son, to be God Himself come down from someplace called heaven.  The records also record things that do not fit our understanding, Star Trek like things.  But how do these records get recorded?  Let’s consider the apostle John in the Book of Revelation, a book that is actually titled “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.”

John had been sent to a Roman penal colony on the Isle of Patmos because he would not worship the pagan Roman leaders.  This is because he, John, had met and knew that this man Jesus really was all He claimed to be, God come down to be a man like us.  When you know the truth you have to stand on it.  When you know God, when He has come into your life He changes you and transforms you as nothing else can.

So I am in bed trying to get my mind to be quiet and to drift off to sleep and to start to dream.  And Star Trek and other things want to play around in my mind and I am trying to tell my mind to think about real things, the things of God that I know are true and real, not this sci-fi make believe world.  And this gets me to thinking about this time of year, Christmas time.  Thinking about how this Christmas has been and why and what does it mean.  this Christmas season has been a hard one on me for a lot of reasons.

Christmas is always a difficult time for me.  It is both a very good time and a very bad time, very hard emotionally.  And it takes me for an emotional roller coaster ride which includes dreams and sleeping.  So I am trying to go to sleep tonight and I am trying to get a handle on reality and not some sci-fi nonsense and John on Patmos comes to mind.  Let’s take a look.  John saw a new heaven and a new earth and he wrote about it.  But he can only write in terms and words he knows and understands the same as you and I.  In a spiritual sense I have been to heaven a few times, caught up in the spirit as the Apostle Paul says.  So what did it look like?  I was in the great throne room of God Himself and the only words I can use to describe it come from the wizard of OZ because that is an image I can get a handle on.  But it wasn’t like that throne room; it was different, more glorious, more beyond description.  In H. G Wells “The War of the Worlds” the author describes these marching machines that are attacking the earth and they sound a whole lot like water towers that are walking and moving.  Again, I propose that H. G. Wells is relating what he cannot accurately describe in terms he can describe.

I submit to you that the reality is so much greater than we can not only imagine but conceive of or dream.  On Christmas Day, 2009, we took my wife to the hospital due to complications with cancer.  Lab tests confirmed her kidneys had shut down and she was in renal failure.  That is a nice clinical term for she was dying.  We transferred her to the hospice facility where on December 29th she did indeed die.  In these situations people who are going through it go into emotional overload.  During it your thought processes are numb but on the other side disbelief takes over.  This Christmas season a good friend lost his sister and another dear friend lost his father.  Christmas day I met a lady who lost her son a few months ago to a hit and run driver.  I was visiting a neighbor who had a friend over who lost her husband a couple of months ago.  Each of these individuals is grappling with what is real and what is not and is grappling with how to deal with it.

So let’s take a look at what Christmas means and let’s start with the opening announcement that something special has happened.  So it begins with Mary giving birth to the baby Jesus in a stable.  Consider the story in Luke, chapter 2, where there are shepherds watching their flocks at night, just minding their business when very Star Trek like an angel appears (complete in glory) and scares the you know what out of them.  This stuff just does not happen and this record of it is written down by a doctor no less.  And the angel says, first of all, don’t be afraid (even though you have every right to be) because I come and bring good news not just for you but for everyone on earth.  Cool, this has got to be good, really something out of this world.  So here it is, the Savior of the world is born.  Okay, sounds good so far.  Go and you will find Him in a manger (feeding trough) in a stable (where animals are kept) and oh, did I mention He is a baby?  Now the angel is surrounded all of a sudden by a large number of heavenly hosts who are all singing praises for this infant child in a stable and then all of them just sort of Star Trek like transport back to heaven.  And you, being one of the shepherds left standing wondering what just happened because it is totally outside of any frame of reference you have go down to the town and guess what?  There is a stable and in it is a manger where a baby lays, a newborn.  The story that should not make sense is actually true.  Quit having jalapeno’s for a late night snack, okay guys.  What really happened with the angel and the heavenly hosts?  We don’t know but we know that the shepherds expressed it in terms they understood and they expressed what really did happen and Israel doesn’t have jalapeno’s so that isn’t what caused it .

I know the pain of people dying and it hurts.  But there are different depths of that pain.  I have had friends and family die and some of it has affected me more deeply than others.  On Christmas Eve, 1970, I was involved in a friendly fire incident in Vietnam where 12 GI’s died.  12 men who were counting on us to support them and we failed.  God, that left scars that still sear with pain even over 40 years later.  There has been much healing but the pain can never go away.  When my wife died I never knew there could be so much pain.  My heart and mind and very soul were ripped apart.  There has also been much healing of that. But what is the greater perspective of it all?

The greater perspective is that there is something more, something beyond all that we know and understand and we have had a taste of it and we can taste of it and know that it is so.  There is a heaven, a real place where people can go when they die.  There is a God, someone beyond our comprehension, who is and was and will be to come.  One of my spiritual “visits” to heaven is tied into my wife Deborah.  After she died, and I was totally consumed with grief and anguish and pain I finally started to get out of my shell.  I worked a Kairos weekend in prison.  This is a ministry where the team of volunteers goes into a prison to bring the love of Jesus to the inmates, and it is good.  So I was on the back table during a time of singing when they sang a song I don’t recall ever hearing.  The song is called “I can only Imagine” written by the group Mercy Me (Bart Millard).  And as we were standing there singing I was taken up in the spirit to heaven and I found myself in the great throne room of God.  It was full of people and it reminded me of the throne room from the Wizard of OZ (remember that we have to fit things in our understanding).  Well, my wife Deborah greeted me and she had the biggest, most beautiful smile on her.  And she takes me by the hand and leads me to a different part of the throne room.  She takes me up to Jesus and introduces me to Him.  That is the part that told me what was happening was real.  It was not about seeing Deborah, that was so wonderful in itself and oh yes, I missed her so much, it was about Jesus.  This vision, this other worldliness was so much more than I could have ever imagined or come up with for an image to heal my grief and pain.  And it was not about me, it was about something greater, Jesus, God Himself.

I can now think of those shepherds guarding their flocks and having the night invaded by heavenly beings, angelic hosts, proclaiming there is so much more.  I can picture John on Patmos at a ripe old age, at the end of a human existence, one who has seen and witnessed so much that is beyond comprehension.  He witnessed life before Christ, before Jesus came as a babe born in a manger, having witnessed the life of Christ and the death of the Savior.  John, who had witnessed and had seen all the pieces fit together who was now exiled and alone on this rock in the middle of the ocean, a man waiting to die and to go home.

So John is there and God gives him more.  “And I saw….” is such power, power you and I cannot question or call to account.  John saw that there is more than can be seen by us, by rational people and that it is for us to see for ourselves. John goes on and tells us more of his vision and yet just a chapter later in the Book of Revelation, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, he finishes and simply says, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”  Such completeness can only come in such simplicity, Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.

Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Thor, and all the other phony worlds we make believe are not just fiction, they are such a weak and far cry from reality that it is unreal.  When Jesus comes back we shall know the greater.  We shall see and know that we are so much less while at the same time being of so much more worth that anything we can dream of and conceive of.  We are God’s chosen, His holy people, called by God Himself to know Him, to walk with Him, in perfect love.

My prayer is that I might love with as much of His love as is possible for this frail, fragile human form.  My prayer and heart’s desire is that I might share some of the knowledge that He is, He was, and He will be to come.  He is here now, He lives in me and I pray you seek Him to know Him yourself, personally.  He is there, and He beckons you, even you to so much more.  Amen, come Lord Jesus.

When I Gaze

This post originated while at the gym tonight.  I have a pulled groin muscle which at this time really hurts, as in pain.  When I hurt my thinking goes way off track which can be good or sometimes not so good.  The thought processes are altered because my mind is distracted (in this case by pain).  There is actually a psychotherapy technique called EMDR that uses a distracted mind to help patients approach problems.  That is a totally different subject that is way off track.  So, on to this post.

I don’t know what you believe or what led you to your beliefs.  Me, I believe in the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible.  To further clarify that I believe that Jesus is all He said He was, that He died for our sins and that we can invite Him into our hearts to live as Savior and Lord.

Music to me is meant for the heart.  Yes, I know that there is all kinds of technical and even mathematical aspects to it, but I like music that moves me.  Quite often it also speaks to me, volumes, about life and love and good and bad and about people.  I would like to share about three songs (of the many) that have had great impact in my life and which help me gaze in awe at the most wondrous, and Awesome God, the Great I AM.

The first song I heard live in 1971 and it is “Shauna’s Song” by Barry McGuire.  I was a new Christian and he performed during a seminar I attended.  Several aspects of it still stand as a testament to God’s love.  Barry was also a fairly new person in Christ and the testimony of his life and that is exhibited in this song is one of a life changed and transformed completely by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  It was so clear and obvious that Barry had been touched by the Holy spirit and made new.  The Christian term is Barry had been “born again.”  Here are the lyrics.

Shauna’s Song

I don’t know            why he loves me

I don’t know            why he cares for me

You know I ran from him, oh yes, I ran from him

I turned my back and slammed the door in his face

But still he said to me, said, “I love you”

Said, “I love you”

I don’t know            why he wants me

I don’t know            why he’s so concerned for me

You know I’ve hurt him so, oh yes, I’ve hurt him so

But still he comes to me with his arms outstretched

Whispering these words, “I forgive you”

Says, “I forgive you”

I just don’t understand a man who’ll stand and say, “I forgive you”

Say, “I love you”

But don’t you know

Now it’s true

I love him, too

Like Barry I don’t understand how God could love me how God could send His only Son to die for me, how Jesus could and would choose to die for me and love me.  But He does and He did.  Jesus hung on the cross to pay for my sins.

When I talked in the last post about gazing at the Great I AM I used the picture of astronomy because it was a very good image of gazing at something so vast and awesome and unknowable.  I don’t care what science says, they really don’t have a clue about the greatness of the universe.

Over Christmas of 2009 my wife of 37 years, Deborah, died from cancer and it shattered my life.  Well, God often speaks to me through music and this was no exception.  The first music He gave me was a song by Julie Miller titled “All My Tears.”  Like Barry when you see Julie in the context of her music you see someone who is very spiritual and very much in touch with God.  To me there is an innocence in her love for Jesus.  God gave me this song as being Deborah’s song.  Here are it lyrics.

All My Tears

When I go don’t cry for me
In my father’s arms I’ll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed and I’ll be whole

Sun and moon will be replaced
With the light of Jesus’ face
And I will not be ashamed
For my savior knows my name

It don’t matter where you bury me
I’ll be home and I’ll be free
It don’t matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away

Gold and silver blind the eye
Temporary riches lie
Come and eat from heaven’s store
Come and drink and thirst no more

So weep not for me my friend
When my time below does end
For my life belongs to him
Who will raise the dead again

In and through these word I knew Deborah was home, healed and whole.  There was great peace which came (and still comes) from listening to this music.

The final song has a slightly stranger story behind it for me.  I don’t like a lot of modern Christian music because it seems to lack a depth of knowing and loving Jesus.  A lot of modern music seems written to sell and to stimulate, not to express the Holiness of the relationship we can have with the Father.  This is just some of my thinking so please don’t hammer me for it.  I am not making an absolute statement here.

I have worked in prison ministry with a ministry called Kairos where we go in for a weekend and “Listen, Listen, Love, Love” 42 inmates at a time.  There are broken down to 7 different tables where they sit with volunteers.  During the first Kairos weekend I worked after losing Deborah I was sitting at the table with inmates and ours was in the back of the room.  Over the course of the weekend we sing songs.

Before I go on I should say that I believe in the Holy Spirit and I believe there is a supernatural world that is all around us.  I love the Holy Spirit, believe in the Baptism in it and have seen God do miraculous things in this world.  Really.  Oh, and that is not part of the Kairos plan and is not encouraged.  The book contains the plan and we strive to stick with it.

So we were having a singing time and were all standing up having a good time.  Our music leader lead us in a song I suppose I had heard before but I had never “heard” it before like I heard it that day.  The song is “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.  I swear I hadn’t heard it before today, okay.  Well, the Holy Spirit took me, in the spirit, up to heaven and there I was in the great throne room of God.  And Deborah was there to greet me with this great big smile that simply radiated with her eyes bright as can be.  Now you are probably thinking yea, the guy goes to heaven and sees his wife and she is hunky-dory.  I would be thinking that too so I don’t mind if you do.  But, this is my vision of heaven so follow along.  Then Deborah takes me by my hand and she leads me over and introduces me to Jesus.  The message God had for me came through loud and clear, it is all about Jesus  Here are the lyrics to “I Can Only Imagine.”

I Can Only Imagine

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk

By Your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When Your face
Is before me

I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all

I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the sun

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You

I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of You be still

Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all

I can only imagine
I can only imagine
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all

I can only imagine
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever,
forever worship you

I can only imagine

When I went to the gym this evening I played these three songs in a loop over the course of about an hour and at times I buried my face in my workout towel and cried, weeping over the emotions these songs stir up in me, songs that stir up Christ in me.  Just like my vision which occurred in prison, it is about Jesus and the depth of the meaning of knowing Him.  Do you have a belief that is strong enough to carry you through life, through good and bad, to take the weight of all the wrongs in your life (called sin), a belief that can stand in the storm?  I do, I believe in God, the God, the Great I AM.  And along with Barry I don’t know why He loves me.  And with Julie I know that one day all my tears will be washed away when we see Him face to face.

To gaze at the I AM can be outward, heavenly, or it can be inwardly, inside each of us.  Gaze, be in awe.  Dare to look and seek to know Him who is.  Yes, we truly cannot comprehend Him but we can gaze and we can seek to but touch the hem of His garment and be made whole.

Below are YouTube’s of the three songs.  For Barry it is his performing it live, laid out like the question it is.  All My Tears has been done in many variations by many artists.  I give you Julie singing it in a simplistic version that I think lays open the music and bares it for the soul.  I Can Only Imagine is Mercy Me’s original version of the song.  Blessing on you.




The Really Big Picture

It has been a while since I posted to the blog so for that I apologize.  Just been busy and haven’t had any thinking worth following and developing ideas from.  So it is time to change gears and write.  Here goes and it promises starting out to be a many varied tangle of a path to reach the conclusion. 

I have been reading “The Knowledge of the Holy” by A. W. Tozer.  Tozer is an author that for me I have to read a small part of it and then go back a couple of pages to reread how it fits.  Very deep and profound thinking.  I have reached chapter five which is titled “The Self-Existence of God.”  Tozer says, and I quote, “Few of us have let our hearts gaze in wonder at the I AM, the self-existent Self back of which no creature can think.”  The first part of this statement is saying simply that we have failed to simply gaze in wonder.  Gaze in wonder is a concept we can grasp and understand.  Have you stood on a beach and gazed in wonder at the ocean?  Or have you gazed in wonder at the stars in the heavens, or the sunset as the sky changes color from blue to orange to fiery red?  For parents who have gazed at their newborn child I know they have gazed in wonder.  Tozer is saying we have failed to gaze in wonder at the greatest thing that we can gaze at, God Himself; God the great I AM.  More about that in a minute. 

I read an article from TIME magazine (online edition) about a galaxy that has been discovered, named Segue 2.  Now, galaxies are considered to contain anywhere from as few as 10 million stars to trillions of stars, all orbiting around a central point.  Further there are said to be probably more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe.  I won’t even try and impress anyone with crunching the numbers of possible stars all these figures adds up to, but I want to mention Segue 2 because it is unique amongst galaxies.  It is considered the smallest known galaxy with about 600 stars in it, a mere fraction of what is considered normal for a galaxy.  Yet it has its own name and it rates an article in TIME magazine.  It is unique and special.  Keep that point in the forefront of your mind as you read on in this post.


“Few of us have let our hearts gaze in wonder at the I AM,…”  the I AM who is God the Creator of Segue 2 as well as the Creator of you and me.  God said I am going to make a special galaxy that one day man will name Segue 2.  It will be special for a different reason, a reason I bestowed on it from the beginning.  Let me make a galaxy unlike all the other known ones to man.  Instead of millions, or billions, or even trillions of stars I will give it less than 1000.  And God said it was good, and because God said it was good, it was good.  

When I gaze in the night sky, and am in a dark sky locale, I can see the Andromeda galaxy with my naked eye.  Granted it looks like a cotton ball but I know what I am looking at and I can gaze at it in awe.  There are many other night sky treats to be seen and to gaze at in awe and I love doing so.  But have I taken the time and effort to gaze at I AM?  That is Tozer’s point that he puts before us.  I have to wonder and if I am honest I would say I have failed to do so.  Looking at the night sky has enriched my life, so how much more would I be enriched by gazing at the I AM?  What about you?  Has looking at the ocean, the mountains, the forests, the sky, enriched you?  I would say probably so where have we failed? 

I think that if we have let Jesus Christ into our lives we have pondered God and all that He is.  But I think Tozer is trying to lead us to a whole new level of knowing God, of knowing the Great I AM.  One of our problems is we think and we think like men and we think in terms we can understand.  This is natural for us because we are men (and women) and this is how we think.  We picture and imagine in terms we can understand. 

The New Testament speaks of the throne of God.  We picture and imagine God sitting on this big throne, a really nice chair, administering judgments and so forth.  But when I think of the heavens, all the way from Segue 2 to the Andromeda galaxy, to Orion and out beyond what we can even glimpse with our most powerful telescopes, I see God.  God, not just the creator, but the sustainer and the enjoyer of all that He created.  I see God taking time to look at this teeny tiny galaxy named Segue 2 and saying WOW! This is a really neat thing I made. 

Before it looks like I am totally into astronomy God looks at me like He looks at Segue 2.  In terms of being a galaxy Segue 2 is a nothing, can’t even think about competing with the heavy hitters.  Neither can I in terms of being a great human being.  I am not and know it.  But the fascinating thing is God looks at me, and you, and says WOW!  This is a really neat person I made.  Just as every star and every galaxy is special, unique and wonderful, so is every person.  So are you, and you and also you over there reading my post from some place I never heard of. 

Back to the original topic, gazing at I AM.  I need to, and you need to as well, sit still and think about the God who is before anything and everything, who we can’t go back past to find more.  We need to elevate Him to His level and not what we think His level is.  We need to let Him shatter any and all preconceived notions of God, not just examine Him “outside the box.”  So I am asking you to make an effort to try.  I would add more but since I don’t have a clue as to how to go about it I will end with that.  He is, He is God, He is more than the sum total.  Go and gaze. 

That which we stand on

The inkling for this post came last night while I was reading “God’s Pursuit of Man” by A. W. Tozer, I love the words of the older generation of Christian writers such as Tozer, Barclay, C. S. Lewis, Winkie Pratney (you probably haven’t heard of him so go, find, read, and feast on meat). Tozer opens his book from Habakkuk 1:12: “Art Thou not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One?” and then he quotes from John 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”Bold, heady stuff that declares that God is, and more.

Tower’s point is that we have so accepted these facts that they are now just that, common. We have lost sight of the fact that God is and He is God and what that means and implies in our lives. We need to return to the awe factor of knowing God. If we know God we know the One who created the heavens and the earth, who not just “made man” but formed us as an artist forms a lump of clay. He made all of the stars in the heavens (more about that shortly), He made and set in order the microscopic, sub-microscopic, down to the atomic and subatomic levels. FYI: I don’t think science has a clue as to how big and how small creation really is.

Now lets first consider the stars. I go out at night and look at a specific place in the sky (assuming the skies are clear and I am in a dark sky place. There I see what looks like a smudge of white (is smudge a proper astronomy term?). I know I am looking at the Andromeda galaxy, a galaxy similar to our own Milky Way. Yet I really have no grasp, nor can I, how big it really is. How great is God’s creation.

So, that said, lets talk about something we can relate to, gravity, that upon which we stand. Sir Isaac Newton said that all objects have mass and that all mass attracts all other mass. Okay, I did not major in physics so don’t shoot me for not being properly correct. Gravity says that because the Earth is so big and has so much mass that that is what keeps us from flying off the face of the Earth. It pulls us toward the center of the Earth, the center of its mass. So, how do we see this at work. Go find a really high up, super sheer cliff. something like where you are standing looking over a 2000 foot fall. One of those really way up there places. Now scoot all the way to the edge of the cliff, that’s right, get those toes hanging over the edge. Now you are really putting what you know to the test. Gravity says that if you aren’t standing on that solid rock, the cliff itself, you will be drawn towards the center of the Earth’s mass (that means downward until something stops the fall). There is exhilaration and fear (grave fear in my case) because if gravity has its way I will be dashed to my death 2000 feet below. We can see and feel and know the reality of the truth of gravity standing on that cliff.

Back to God. When we are standing on flat ground we take gravity for granted. When we live our normal, average day we take God for granted just like we take gravity for granted. Read the Bible, read about God and His interaction with man. Then, important point here, remember that you and I are also men. God interacts with us. Lets be more aware of Him and His presence daily, hourly, moment by moment. He is mighty, awesome, great and powerful, wonderful, yada, yada, yada. We should spend each day standing on the edge of the cliff of God in awe and fear of the greatness of God. Go back to our opening in Habakkuk 1:12: “O LORD, my God, my Holy One.” Honor Him and love Him, that is His calling to each of us.

Happy Birthday Nicholas!

Thank you Google for having as your doodle a drawing (in color no less) of the Solar System with the Sun at the center. For many umpteen years (that means so many you can’t count them) man thought the universe centered on good old planet Earth (after all the stars at night revolve around us, right). I have taken college courses in Astronomy and a requisite is the study of the history of Astronomy. Why, you ask, would we need to study the past to understand the present and the future? When we lay out the history we discover the thinking process that occurred to reach our present understanding of things. And in this picture (not the one of the Solar System but that of the history of Astronomy) we find that people had things wrong and we had to change our way of thinking about things.

Now, the world thought the universe centered on the Earth and Copernicus (that would be the Nicholas of Happy Birthday Nicholas, 740 years ago) said wait one minute. Let’s look at what we know, and don’t know, and see if we can discover the truth. He then developed a model that incorporated the Sun as the center of the solar system. The problem to then modern thinkers was that it did not fit the current established view.

Since I am probably boring you talking about someone so old and out of date let me continue the boredom with some of his tenets. These I have copied from Wikipedia and to whom I give credit:

1. There is no one center of all the celestial circles or spheres.
2. The center of the earth is not the center of the universe, but only of gravity and of the lunar sphere.
3. All the spheres revolve about the sun as their mid-point, and therefore the sun is the center of the universe.
4. The ratio of the earth’s distance from the sun to the height of the firmament (outermost celestial sphere containing the stars) is so much smaller than the ratio of the earth’s radius to its distance from the sun that the distance from the earth to the sun is imperceptible in comparison with the height of the firmament.
5. Whatever motion appears in the firmament arises not from any motion of the firmament, but from the earth’s motion. The earth together with its circumjacent elements performs a complete rotation on its fixed poles in a daily motion, while the firmament and highest heaven abide unchanged.
6. What appear to us as motions of the sun arise not from its motion but from the motion of the earth and our sphere, with which we revolve about the sun like any other planet. The earth has, then, more than one motion.
7. The apparent retrograde and direct motion of the planets arises not from their motion but from the earth’s. The motion of the earth alone, therefore, suffices to explain so many apparent inequalities in the heavens.

Pretty heady reading but it is very succinct in saying, hey folks, this is how the world really revolves. So I invite you to read his tenets and then tonight (if you have clear skies) go out and just spend time looking at the universe and spend enough time to allow the sky to move, to rotate in its dance. Maybe, if you are lucky, you will have some passing clouds to join in and add to the dance.

Finally, I believe in God. The funny thing is I have not seen any science that would dissuade me in my belief and what I see in the natural world, and in science, does nothing to lessen the belief that He is the Creator of it all and the One who puts all things into their dance, a dance so incredible that I can only find awe in it all.