One Trillion Stars

Genesis 2:4b-25

I love the creation stories in the Bible.  They give me tremendous assurance that we are not random acts of the cosmos but instead we were created by a God that put into motion the elements of creation that put us in the right here and the right now.

Though I’m not entirely sure how well defined right here and right now are.  I was out with family stargazing last Sunday night and as we looked at the Andromeda galaxy, I was once again taken aback by the immensity of what God had created.  For the record, the Andromeda galaxy is our closest neighbor galaxy at 2.5 million light years away and is comprised of about a trillion stars   That is to say, when the light we see from Andromeda hits our eyes, it left it’s star about the time humans were developing stone tools some 2.5 million years ago.  That’s quite a trip for the photons to make.

Photons.  Trillions.  Stars.  Galaxies.  It’s almost too much to take in.  And yet, God is right in the middle of all of this.  Those trillion stars, plus all the other stars in the universe, remind me that I’m pretty small in the grand scheme of things but God is God and God surrounds me, and everyone one of us, with a presence that is unrelenting and won’t let go.  That’s reassuring to me.

Which is good.  It’s good because we live in a world that is oftentimes confusing and finding our place and our role in it can feel a little overwhelming.  Kind of like looking at a trillion stars a couple of million miles away feels a little overwhelming.

Listen, I don’t pretend to understand how all this works.  I believe God created the universe and everything in it and I also believe the universe is something like 14 billion years old and is moving forward guided by the laws of physics that God put into motion at the beginning of time.  How this mashes together is beyond my intelligence to explain so I guess I take it on faith.  A faith that is informed by the promise and presence of God.

The promise and presence of God is also manifested in the creation stories found in Genesis 1 and 2.  The creation story in Genesis 1 lists the six days of creation.  It’s how everything came into being. This story in Genesis 2 has a different focus and takes a closer look into how people and animals came into being.  I like being reminded that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, to quote Psalm 139.

It also has some humor in it.  To this I would point you to verse 19, 19 So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” If you think about it that’s pretty funny on it’s own.  Right now there’s something like 8 million species on the planet so imagine the man naming each of them, one by one.  Might as well sit down, we’re going to be here a while.  I also find it humorous to think of the man coming up with names like duckbill platypus and armadillo.

Which brings us back to God’s hand in creation, and specifically, creating us on purpose.  No one is an accident of nature but each of us are a creation of God.  All of creation has a purpose, even if we question the purpose of things like mosquitoes.  Since the creation stories frequently beg more questions than they answer, the creation stories allow us to gaze in wonder, such as we do at Andromeda galaxy, 1 trillion stars, 2 ½ million light years away.  We can set aside our logical thinking and just experience God in the moment.

This can be difficult for us sometimes.  We get used to doing all of the things that we do so we sometimes forget to set aside time for God.  If we don’t set aside that time then we don’t hear God calling to us.  Without that time dedicated to God, it’s hard to hear God through the noise of our lives.  When we can’t hear God, we miss out on experiencing the comforting promise of presence of God.  A promise and presence we need in times of joy but also in the difficult times. A promise and presence that gets us through tomorrow and the next day.

When we can’t hear God, we miss out on what God may be calling us to do.  Each of us are created for a purpose but if we get too busy to pay attention to God, we miss out on realizing that purpose. But make no mistake that we’re here for a reason.  I even found a good theology meme on the internet that explains this. potato This isn’t one of those bad theology memes that I warn people about as it explains how God works pretty well, I think.  If we can do amazing things with potatoes just think what God can do with us.  Today’s a good day to think about that because we have a whole lot of things in the works.  We start faith formation this morning and we’re kicking off kicks for kids.  Friday is Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach,  Saturday is the Kicks for Kids fun run and then Sunday we’ll have hospitality training and confirmation starting up.

What is God calling you to this week?  Spend some time with God and listen to what God is saying.  Maybe even go outside and look for a trillion stars 2 ½ million light years away and experience what God has created.

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