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What a Wonderful World

Science Is Amazing

  This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the cluster Westerlund 2 and its surroundings has been released to celebrate Hubble’s 25th year in orbit and a quarter of a century of new discoveries, stunning images and outstanding science. The image’s central region, containing the star cluster, blends visible-light data taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys and near-infrared exposures taken by the Wide Field Camera 3. The surrounding region is composed of visible-light observations taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Have you seen the IMAX movie documenting the work of the Hubble Space Telescope?  Coming out of the theater, I remember a striking mix of absolute awe at the wonder of the universe and the power of science to discover it and feeling very small.  During the time of physical distancing we’ve been catching up on recorded shows on our DVR.  One series we’ve been enjoying is a Science Channel presentation of the Planets and Beyond.  We are learning so much about astronomy and planet science, growing in our understanding of our own planet and the deep mysteries of creation.  The more I watch, the more deeply I grow in my awe of creation and my awe of God.  It’s true that my scientific knowledge has grown, but so has my theology and trust in God.  Science is amazing and does much to illuminate how God is at work.  Moreover, it expands my understanding of our responsibility to care for God’ creation.

Fifty Years of Earth Day

April 22 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.  In previous years, Earth Day was mostly an afterthought to me.  It usually came close enough to Easter that it would get lost in the preparations for Holy Week and Easter.  Something has changed this year.  We have endured a series of super storms, apocalyptic wildfires, ever increasing temperatures due to global climate change…with no end in sight.  The lobbying practices of big business (particularly the fossil fuel industry) are preventing any meaningful nationwide action.  Combined with the current rush to deregulate clean water and clean air standards, Creation is under pressure like at no other time.  It is time for us to reclaim the work of eco-justice as a spiritual practice.  Our text for this Sunday makes clear, God continues to create.  To be certain, God’s ongoing work makes creation more resilient.  However, we abdicate our covenantal relationship with God and our personal responsibility if we don’t engage the stewardship of creation we are called to exercise.

What Physical Distancing Is Revealing

Enforced physical distancing programs across much of the world has been a strain on the fabric of the human community.  It has emotional, spiritual, economic and social impacts.  There is a growing sense that this will take some number of weeks and months to work through.  I’ve also heard people articulate a belief that this will change the human community forever.  It seems like we won’t ever go back to the way things used to be.  It has made us aware of a lot that we have taken for granted.  Another thing that we’ve begun to notice, both through reporting and studies, but also through personal observations is that our air and water quality have shown noticeable improvement even in four weeks.  This is being noticed across the globe.  Wildlife is also returning to places they once avoided.  It is true that we wouldn’t necessarily have chosen this brand of physical distancing, however, what we have seen in terms of its environmental impact should teach us something about what we can do to care for our environment.  Like you, I can’t wait to go attend worship again, see a movie, go to a sporting event, you know…the normal stuff.  As we contemplate engaging in these activities again, let’s not forget to steward God’s amazing creation.