Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's Resolutions and light

Like many people I make New Year’s Resolutions. Sometimes I’m able to keep them and sometimes not. This year I made a modest weight loss resolution along with deciding to read the Old Testament in 2011. If anyone reading this blog would like to read the Old Testament and then exchange comments via E-mail, please let me know.

I like the process of New Year’s Resolutions. I have a habit of getting stuck in ruts and the flip of the calendar allows me to be intentional about making some changes in my own life. New Year’s Resolutions gives me an opportunity to live out the aspirations I have for my life. One of my joys during the holiday season was sitting at Barnes & Noble in Rochester and talking with Hannah about the New Year’s Resolutions we would like to make for 2011.

However each of our New Year’s Resolutions pale in comparison with what is going on in the Universe. In this age of Narcissism each of us would do well to see how small we are in relationship to the cosmos.

During my Christmas Eve sermon I focused on the theme of light. The sermon can be viewed by finding the blip TV link at colpres.org. As I worked on this sermon I was especially touched by the words of John, “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”

Light surrounded the incarnation of Jesus. Light was predicted by Isaiah, it was displayed by the angels and the star that guided the magi, and it was described by John.

The above picture is of Eta Carinae, which according to Wikipedia is a stellar system in the constellation Carina, about 7,500 to 8,000 light-years from the Sun. The system has a combined luminosity about four million times that of the Sun and has an estimated system mass in excess of 100 solar masses.

The light that we see in this picture originated almost six thousand years before Jesus was born. Wow! My weight loss goal seems pretty small when I look at this picture.

I believe that God knows every part of Eta Carinae and knows every part of all the other stars and solar systems in this Universe. With this unimaginable knowledge, God chose to give us light through a tiny baby born to an unmarried, teenage peasant in a non-descript town in the Middle East.

When I look at Eta Carinae I think of the words of the Psalmist.
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
The moon and the stars that you have established;
What are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
And crowned them with glory and honor.”
Psalm 8:3-5a

I have dedicated my life to receiving and sharing this light through the church. Without this light I can’t imagine that any of my New Year’s Resolutions will make a difference.

In my Christmas Eve sermon I challenged everyone at Chain of Lakes to share this light in 2011. Would you, this blog reader, commit to doing the same?

Happy New Year!

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