Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.

Stars Align

I read the news today, like a lot of you. Sometimes I wonder whether doing that so early in the morning is wise. I think I’ve mentioned the results of a study years ago that found people who do not read the daily news have a longer life expectancy than those who do. There are all kinds of causation questions in such a study, but I don’t think it was arguing that reading the news everyday shortens your life. Still, some mornings, I do wonder…

The news about two stars interacting with one another cracked open the front pages of many news outlets today. An image unlike any of us have ever seen will be etched into our vision forever. That’s right. Today we learned that the oldest stars ever seen were spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope. The only way we were able to see the stars was due to a gravitational phenomenon that comes into play across vast distances of the universe that actually bend space to create a kind of magnifying lens and offers a glimpse at distant objects unavailable even to he strongest space telescopes.

Naturally many eyes are on a another set of stars and their interaction over the past few days, and there is a lot to be said about that. Observers of those stars have voiced support for one or the other. Others have taken the time to do a social critique of violence, privilege, entertainment, and a range of other issues facing a nation, facing a world. Yesterday someone asked me what I would preach about it, and my thought was that all this talking about violence feeds it, makes sense of it, tries to weave it into a story. And I don’t know if such an act deserves all of the attention it’s receiving, especially compared to the other stars in the news.

Scientists across the globe have been working for three and a half years, since the first glimpse of the farthest, oldest stars ever seen, to bring the world news of its discovery. They wanted to be absolutely sure they were actually seeing what they thought they were seeing. And what they were seeing was a set of stars that appears only 900 million years after the Big Bang. For those of you doing the math, the image glimpsed was made by light emitted 12.8 billion years ago from the farthest place in the universe ever seen so far.

Our lives are measured in years, but what can change a life forever can happen in minutes or even seconds. Faced with visions from billions of years ago, it can make a life of minutes seem small. And in some ways it is. But our lives are also very large because each moment we have the chance to change someone’s world forever. Even the slightest act, the most compact moment, can reverberate around the world in a flash and be magnified to the billions of years that are yet to come for us all. May they all be acts of love, friends.

And may it ever be so,
Rev. T. J.

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