Reflecting on Stardust….

Star Gazing by Tomasz HuczekWe are expecting a very cold, very clear night after another long day of snow. It’s been a brutal winter and I long for spring to arrive. So I was drawn to this magical photo by my friend Tomasz. I love the velvet green pastures and the winding road that leads us to the edge of a sleepy village. Without street lights to wash out the sky, the stars seem so bright that you could just reach up and grab a handful. The cedar of Lebanon shelters the home in the foreground, so much more prominent than anything man has placed in this scene. Yet even this vast and majestic tree cannot compete with our attention for the stars in the sky. Perhaps we yearn for the stars because we are made of stardust. Yes, literally made of stardust. It’s not a line from a poem or a fanciful notion. Every atom except hydrogen has been created through the nuclear fusion of the stars, stars that came into being at the creation of the universe and flung matter across the galaxies light years away. The early universe expanded after the Big Bang for only 3 seconds before it cooled to a state where subatomic particles assembled into atoms. Science and faith may be odds for some folks, but for me science fuels my awe and reverence for the Holy of Holies. The Creator gave us a beautiful and elegant universe where the tiniest of the tiny parallels the largest of the large, light that is both wave and particle, bodies that contain flesh and bone and soul. Is it any surprise that our bodies as God’s temples are made from stardust? Would anything less serve as a fitting vessel for the immanent God that dwells within us, as close as our breath yet as vast as the universe? Make time today to soak in the elegance and beauty of creation. Bundle up and venture out into the cold, clear night to gaze at the stars, to wonder at the majesty of creation, to humbly give thanks for our bodies and souls. Turn your eyes and your hearts to the source of simple blessings, warm homes, dry beds, full bellies. And always remember, when the vagaries of this life consume us, the night sky remains to remind us we are precious Children of God. Text by Connie Chintall ©2014, Photo entitled ‘Star Gazing’ by Tomasz Huczek ©2013, to see more of his photos, go to http://tomasz.cc/, or check out  the video “We are Stardust” – A Symphony of Science at   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g4d-rnhuSg

Reflecting on Infinity….

The first week of school is behind us, without any major problems or concerns. Tomorrow we will spend the day at the lake, probably our last swimming day out before the weather turns cold. As we spend more time indoors, I seem to turn inward, to spend more time pondering the things my mind alone cannot grasp. So I was drawn to this amazing image by my friend Heidi Anne, a swirl of more colors that you can imagine, creating an abstract beauty. I am reminded of a rafting trip in Alaska, where the water was milky from volcanic ash. I look again and see summer squash in tangled vines, moss growing amidst decaying leaves, perhaps rose petals and day lilies. In one image, she offers us the bounty of creation, unfolding and changing before our eyes. The greatest truths of our world are like this image, deeper and more complex than we can begin to see with our eyes alone. The pursuit of truth and faith has unfolded over eons, as we seek the Author of Creation. We must approach the vastness of the Holy of Holies with love, loving God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength (Matthew 12:30). Christ took the first commandment and turned it into a rule of life, a way to open ourselves to the endless mercy and grace of God. We cannot fold ourselves around the infinite; we can only allow ourselves to be enfolded. I don’t know about you, but I like to be in control. I like to be in charge. Yet in this life the human solution offers so much less than what we are capable of through the Alpha and Omega. When we let go, and let God, life flows in a way we never thought possible. Healing light flows into us, then through us, love informs all we do. Take time today to ponder the vastness of creation. Join your heart and soul with your mind, then turn toward the Almighty with all your strength. Let go of whatever burdens you carry, allowing the vastness of God to make your load light. And always remember, when you feel painted into a corner, all you need to do is look up for a way out. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Art entitled ‘ Infinite Color’ by Heidi Anne Morris ©2012, used with her permission. To see more of her work, go to http://www.heidiannemorris.com/

Reflecting on Rhythm….

The March wind is roaring outside my office window. It’s what Winnie the Pooh would call a blustery day. Even the majestic oaks are dancing in the wind, yet it’s the tiny branches of our poplar that caught my eye. So I was drawn to this magical photograph by my friend Luis, part of his series called ‘The Secret Life of Plants’. I am always amazing at how plants can be incredibly strong, yet still remain supple. Even the tiniest branches sway in their own peculiar rhythm, twisting and turning in response to the wind. We must let go of the specifics to detect this rhythm, looking at the same branch over time, until each particular image blurs together. At first, it may seem we have lost more than we gain, until patterns begin to emerge. We notice the graceful arch of a single branch is echoed in the scene all around us, the curve of the treetops reminds us of the shapes of passing clouds, the same colors appear all around us, popping up in the most unexpected places. The same Creator who blessed us with life calls out to us through the bounty and blessings of nature. Whatever name you give the Author of the Universe, whatever faith tradition you call your own, we all recognize the unity of our world. The same shapes and rhythms sing across the galaxy, from the tiny subatomic particles being discovered each day, to the far reaches of outer space. Take time today to see and hear the rhythm of creation. Pause to soak in the beauty of a single bloom, or to gaze at the stars. Listen to the sound of water splashing on rocks, or birds singing in the trees. And remember when we let go of our human perception, when it all begins to blur together, the rhythm of the Almighty will shine through, showing us more beauty than we ever can imagine. Photo by Luis Gonzalez, part of a series called ‘The Secret Life of Plants’

Reflecting on Creation….


It’s a glorious, sunny day, a welcome change from yesterday’s damp, grey weather. So I was drawn to this amazing image by my friend Heidi, part of her ‘Twirls’ series. At first glance, it seems she has warped a simple rainbow, twisting and turning the entire spectrum of color. Yet the longer I looked at her art, the more I thought of the beginning of the universe, the start of all time. Genesis offers the six day version – but what is a day in God’s time? An earth day of 24 hours, or a cosmic day that lasts eons? Science offers the big bang theory, where the entire universe is condensed into a zone called a singularity that infinitely and instantaneously expands. First there is nothing, then there is everything. Both science and religion agree there is a beginning, but we continue to argue over the how, and when, and why. My view is very simple. The singularity is the Holy of Holies, who was, and is and always will be. Our Creator existed before time began, and I imagine the start of our universe looked a lot more like Heidi’s twirls than an explosion. The universe unfolded, like a flower blooming in spring, opening across time and space in infinite and inconceivable beauty. Or to quote my young friend Colin:

Nothing is special, everything is. Another dichotomy of reality, we live in a universe too large to comprehend, specks of matter floating without aim through the domain of galaxies. Yet we are, and we continue to be. We are conscious, thinking beings with the capability to love and to grow and to learn. Both of these realities are important, we are both gears- pre-purposed parts of a universal machine, without the power to cause lasting change- and miracles- beings capable of understanding what is around us, part of the great performance of time and cognizant of its magnificence. Live as a miraculous gear, a cog that knows what time the clock keeps. – Colin Shea-Blymer

Take time today to ponder the miracle of creation. Pause to look at a snowflake, or flower, or the smile of a small child. Look up into the night sky and open your mind to the vastness of God’s universe. And remember to give thanks for each breath, for we receive the gift of life one breath at a time. Art by Heidi Anne Morris, used with her permission, to see more of her work, visit http://www.redbubble.com/people/heidiannemorris

Reflecting on Creation….

We are enjoying a bit of a break from the heat, with a nice breeze today. What we really need is rain. We have had a very dry summer in Virginia. So I was drawn to this photo of a dew drenched bee, taken by my friend David in the wee hours of the morning. David and his wife Carole spent all night taking photos, resulting in many truly amazing pictures. Yet the early morning photos caught my eye. Take a good look at this bee, at the intricate detail of his body and wings. The bee almost appears furry, with delicate wings that seem at odds with his sturdy body. Each part is uniquely formed to serve its function, as this tiny bee and the rest of his hive travel from flower to flower collecting nectar. While we continue to sleep, the world around us is vibrantly alive. We rest in the assurance that all shall be well with the world when we rise, that the earth continues to rotate on its axis, that the atmosphere we take in breathe by breathe is still in place, secured by gravity and a hundred other intricate and interwoven mechanisms of nature. All these things, both large and small, work together for our good. Our all powerful God, whether called Yahweh, or Allah, or whatever name you chose, offers us life, one breathe at a time. This sovereign God not only creates the largest of things, but also deigned to create this bee, one of the smallest of things. If our all powerful God can take the time to wantonly lavish such detail on a creature as small as a bee, what more can God do for each of us? Take time today to consider the sovereignty of God, and let go of what burdens your heart. Make room for the author of creation to craft a solution to what seems impossible, trusting that whatever you ask is but a little thing for the same Lord that conquered sin and death on the cross. Photo by David Buckwalter

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