faith looking forward

Our Journey Around the Sun

Builder and the Cosmos

July 26, 2015

Sunday Evening Service sermon

"In honor of Builder today, I would like to share a passion of mine with you. Space is cool.

Aboard the International Space Station, which travels at speeds measured in kilometers per second, you get a sunrise or a sunset over the edge of our beautiful blue marble floating in the void every 45 minutes. But when you're orbital, our home is much more than just that pale blue dot you've heard of. 250 miles up isn't very far when you're looking at a planet. It's stunning: the deserts and coastlines and mountains and weather patterns, the dark ocean storms and the bright pastoral days and the iridescent ribbons of the auroras at the poles and finally, the brilliant city nights, clusters of humanity's light twinkling like sparkling jewels set into the surface of our home, calling to the stars.

That's part of what Builder is to me. The community of our shared birthplace independent of what lines were drawn on its surface, shining light back at the stars, who have been shining at us for billions of years.

Space is also big. Our local neighborhood around our life giving nuclear furnace is enormous on an earthly scale. Usually about 93 million miles away from us, our Sun sits at the center of its orbiting wanderers. And Neptune, our eighth planet, spins 30 times farther away than us. It takes 4 hours for the light from the sun to get that far. But the nearest star to us is 4 light years away. And there are hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way. And there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the part of the universe we can observe. It has taken scientists generations to develop the tools and knowledge to be able to tell us this much about where we are in the universe. That dedication to something greater than oneself, be it science or religion or family, be it lens-crafting or plotting the stars' paths or infinitesimal interactions between particles, the dedicants who applied their lives to exploration or perfecting a craft or just figuring out why that one weird thing happens inside stars, these people are filled with Builder's fire.

But let's come back down to Earth for a moment. Our beautiful planet covered with humans. Covered with water. Covered with atmosphere. Wrapped in a protective blanket of magnetic field to keep us safe from our Sun's wilder moods. Tilted just so that our journey around the sun causes the seasons to change. Locked into that tilt by our moon, who herself is locked into showing us the same face, year after year.

This is our home.

This is our beginning.

There have been many beginnings before ours. Primates came after mammals came after life came after our planet came after our star came after our galaxy came after our universe. But the cycle is unending. Each new beginning allows so many more beginnings to follow. Each act of creation shapes what the future will hold.

Though I see Builder through a scientist's view, He is more than His works, wondrous as they may be. Each of us has been blessed with the powers of creation. If we dedicate and believe, we can bring to pass a future with our fingerprints on it. It only requires a dream and humankind's everything put behind it."