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Evalgelical Lutheran Church in America Northeastern Ohio Synod
Letters from Pastor Alan Smearsoll

August 2022

The James Webb Space Telescope is transmitting its first pictures of the  universe and they are dazzling! Humans are now able to see as far out into the universe as we have ever gazed. There is no end – like the Energizer Bunny, it keeps going and going and going J.

The sheer number of stars and galaxies is mindboggling. While science looks to the stars to try to determine our origins and the origins of the universe, scripture points to one source and, with all the technology of today, astronomers would do well to heed the words of Psalm 19:  The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. When we see these images of our universe as provided by today’s technology, they proclaim God’s glory.

Psalm 90 declares Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations…from everlasting to everlasting you are God. As the universe is never ending, so is our God. Consider the vastness of the universe, the limitlessness of our God and then let it sink in, the size of our planet, our home, in this vastness. Earth is but a speck of dust, a hidden from sight “atomic particle” in the vastness of God’s creation. 

People want to believe that we are not alone in the vastness of this universe. That there must be life out there somewhere. With all the high tech equipment of today, there has been no proof of any such life. Psalm 8 places all of this in perspective very nicely for us:  You have set your glory above the heavens….When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

I dare say, of all of creation, the millions and millions of stars like our sun, the innumerable galaxies and solar systems that we are just but getting a glimpse of through the Webb telescope, God chose little, teeny tiny Earth to be our home and the place where our God without end chose to dwell with us. Of all the wonders of the universe, you – yes you – matter most. As vast and never ending as the universe, so is God’s love for you. This is what I see when I look at the awe inspiring pictures that science is providing of our universe. They are telling scientists data, but they are telling the world the glory of God! May you look at them with the same perspective of faith and bow down in worship of our amazing God.

By the way, take some time this month to step outside at night around the 12th and 13th to enjoy the Perseids meteor shower, which can produce up to sixty meteors an hour at its peak. This takes some patience (and bug spray J) but even one or two long streaks of meteors is breathtaking.

I have to share this story about shooting stars. When Bryan was probably two, the Teletubbies were popular. He learned the word “comet” from that young children’s show. We were driving on the freeway and all of a sudden Bryan says from the back “comet!” Sue and I were befuddled. We thought maybe the lights of a car reflected in his window. When we returned home that night and put the news on, we learned of a fireball meteor that lit up the night sky. Bryan was a witness to that magnificent display!
Pastor Alan 

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