and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.” - Psalm 19:1
Summer is a time for a shift in routine, a change of pace. It always feels to me that there is more time in the summer. Perhaps it is because of the longer daylight hours, or because so many of the routine things we do during the school year are suspended for the summer. Or maybe the summer feels spacious because we make different use of our time – choosing to relax, to vacation, or to spend time with friends and family.
Summer is always the time of year I associate with star-gazing. When I was young my dad and I would put our lawn chairs in the back yard of our home in Spokane, and wait for the sky to grow dark. Dad would point out the constellations, planets, and stars that he knew by name. Gradually more and more stars would become visible, until on dark nights, it became difficult to even find the constellations because of all the stars in the sky.
Mark and I were in the Tri-Cities a couple weeks ago, and while we were there we visited the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) visitor center. LIGO at Hanford is one of two sites in the US designed to detect gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space. These waves are 1/10,000th of the width of a proton. So small that, although Einstein predicted the waves, he assumed that they would never be measurable. But, they are. And, shortly after coming online in 2015, the two US LIGO sites detected a gravitational wave, the result of the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion miles from earth. Interestingly, the LIGO observations led to telescopes being pointed toward the source of the wave in time to observe the collision of the black holes. The gravitational wave had gotten to earth ahead of the light from that event.
Whenever I am confronted with the vastness of space, the small size of an atom, or the complexity of our universe – I discover I am also face-to-face with the beautiful complexity of the creation brought into being by our God and creator. I find myself drawn again to sitting in a lawn chair watching the stars, and imagining what wonders there still are to be found somewhere beyond our understanding.
As you move into the middle of your summer this year, I challenge you to find some quiet moments to consider our place in God’s beautiful universe. Pray, read scripture (Psalm 19 is a good starting point) or maybe just to put a lawn chair out in the back yard on a dark night and give thanks to God for the beauty of all of God’s creation.