Canon Jenny Wigley
Good morning. There’s a lovely piece of poetry in one of the Hebrew psalms. It’s Psalm 8:
‘When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them? ‘
Gazing at the night sky made the writer marvel. And 50 years ago today, the scientists not just the psalmists were observing the heavens as the Mariner 2 spacecraft orbited Venus and sent back the first pictures of another planet.
The heady days of the Space Race seem a long time ago- it was hard to justify the huge sums of money it cost to send even unmanned craft to explore the solar system. But cutting back on the space programme hasn’t curbed the sense of adventure, the desire “to boldly go” as they used to say on Star Trek, “where no man has gone before”.
We do like to try things out, find things out, but it seems to me there’s been more to this than mere curiosity. To go back to those words from Psalm 8, there’s also a sense of wonder that flawed and fragile human beings can be part of something so powerful, so complex.
The mysteries of the universe are not just a code to be cracked or a puzzle to be solved but an adventure that absorbs those who enter into it in body, mind and spirit. And for the person of faith, the response is to fall on our knees in reverence and awe: the God who shaped the moon and the stars chooses also to shape the lives of men and women, and give them a place of honour in creation.
God of power and might, whose glory shines in the highest heavens and whose love reaches to the deep places of the earth: help us to offer praise and thanksgiving through the One who is the Bright Star of the Morning, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.