Sunday, 12 February 2012

From space

 Yesterday and the eve of yesterday, were bedevilled with snarky, touchy conversations and correspondence . . . jealousy . . . touchiness . . . intransigence.  Glad to have left those hours behind.

When I was a church pastor I encouraged my church council members to ask themselves periodically, “How much does this matter on the Earth as viewed from Space?”

Years before that, as a young mother of a brood of children, I’d come across the words of Sigmund Jähn, speaking passionately about our beautiful blue planet, its fragility and the marvel of its uniqueness: in all our solar system, all our universe, the only one:

Before I flew I was already aware of how small and vulnerable our planet is; but only when I saw it from space, in all its ineffable beauty and fragility, did I realize that human kind's most urgent task is to cherish and preserve it for future generations.- Sigmund Jähn 
And it has been entrusted by God to our care.  In the book of Genesis the story relates how God gave us dominion over the Earth – made us lords of creation.  And so we are, even if we would rather not be; how the earth fares is in our hands.

But in the Bible, authority is seen not as exploitation but as accountability.  To be the lords of creation and have dominion over the Earth doesn’t mean we can do what we like with the Earth; it means we are answerable to God for what we did with the Earth, how we carried out the trust He gave us.  Uh-oh.

This matters.  Not many other things do.

So when I have a day like yesterday, reeking of Mammon’s aggressiveness and pseudo-sophistication, I recall in my mind’s eye this picture from the space shuttle Voyager 1:

This was the picture it took as it looked back, before it turned and left our solar system for the last time.

The Earth is that blue dot, caught in the sunbeam there.

There are some things I do that are part of that radiance, that heartbreaking beauty.  Nothing else is very important.


365 366 Day 43 (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here

Oh, this is an excellent book!  Old now, coming out of Sheila Cassidy’s pioneering work at St Luke’s Hospice back in the 1980s.  Full of wisdom.  I have found it helpful and inspiring, and taken to heart the teaching it imparts, enlarging my own window on reality to include its point of view.


maria said...

Did you give the book away? If not, can you send it to me?

We have to take care of this planet because it is our gift. How sad it is to see others destroying the creation that we have been blessed with.

Thank you for your words this Sunday my friend...



Anonymous said...

I've been mulling this over in my mind since I read it this morning Pen. It's very thought provoking. For myself I know that jealousy and other negative emotions tend to come when I'm more focused on me rather than on God (which is lots and lots of times! :-/ I'm working on that one...honest!) I think I need to remember your perspective more...

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Hi friends

So sorry Maria - by the time each of these things gets posted they have gone on their way.

Debs, if I'm honest I'm not quite sure how I would go about focussing on God, because of God's immensity and mystery. But I think the jealousies happening around that day came from people's anxieties and insecurities.

Jules said...

wow. good thoughts! I always feel inspired by what you write. have a great week!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Hi Jules! Waving! x