“SATURDAY NIGHT AT EIGHT”

As I have still got a functioning Internet Connection and the house phone is working properly it seems as though the ‘Solar Storm’ has passed by without major incident.

We are apparently in that period of the Sun’s cycle where she is doing a bit of interior spring-cleaning and throwing stuff in our direction.  Viewed from where we are the Sun doesn’t seem to alter, but close up she is a dynamic active beast.  The Sun is really just one massive nuclear reactor and from time to time massive explosions throw vast quantities of debri into space.  In 1859 one such solar storm caused telegraphic communications to break down when the wires shorted and caused fires to break out in North America and Europe.  More recently, in March 1989 another such storm brought down the electricity grid in Canada, and for over 9 hours there was a black-out.  We may be subjected to more of these cosmic happenings in the next couple of years as the Sun reaches the height of its active cycle.  Fortunately we have a space ‘umbrella’ that protects us from the worst of the effects.  If the sky is clear during the next few nights we may be treated to a spectacular celestial laser show.

I don’t think that the psalmist, who penned the words of the first part of Ps. 19 which we will be using in worship tomorrow, knew much about all this.  But what he did feel when he looked up at the heavens brought on him a sense of awe that cut him down to size and got him on his knees.

“The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork”.

At least I know where all this is coming from, which is more than can be said about our ancestry. According to another news item this week, researchers in Cambridge have succeeded in profiling the genetic make-up of Gorillas.  What they have discovered seems to indicate that we may owe more to them than to chimpanzees, for what we as humans are.

(I see a faint resemblance to my great-great-great Uncle Fred)

I have often wondered why I have sudden urges to swing from trees and to beat my chest with clenched fists.  I have checked with “Ancestry UK” but they say their records don’t go as far back as that.

Reading about all this, I got down my copy of Carl Sagan’s book “The Dragons of Eden”.  Much of what he writes leaves me baffled, but what does hit me is the period of time over which this evolutionary process has taken place.  Like the immensity and power of the Sun, the time span over which we have evolved is almost beyond comprehension.  As Sagan says in his book, “The world is very old and human beings are very young”.  If we plotted all of the history of our planet since it came into being, we humans only come onto the scene in very recent times.  If we condensed all time, since the Big Bang and chartered all of the Earth’s existence into 1 year we would find that the most primitive forms of life only appeared at 1.30p.m. on Dec. 31st.  On that dayour first real ancestors would appear at about 10.30p.m.  The chart would show that the era of the Roman Empire and the Birth of Christ occurred at 11.59.56 on that first New Years Eve.  Again thinking about our bible readings on Sunday, we shall read from the OT about the giving of the Ten Commandments to the Isrealities on their desert journey.  On the time scale of the universe, we may find that the paint on the tablets that Moses brought down the mountain, is hardly dry. 

“O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hand hath made  ……..
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee
HOW GREAT THOU ARE”
 

John R.

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