Saturday, 4 August 2012

Bright shining as the sun

Hello, God.

It happened again today.  

We went to the Science Museum in London today as part of our holiday down here in the capital, between our trips to see family and Olympic events.  It's an amazing experience, the Science Museum. Even for someone like me, who is pretty much technologically challenged, it's fascinating.  It's fascinating in a different way for my husband, who is a scientist, so he understands the inner workings of everything from steam engines and space rockets and MRI machines and aeroplanes and transistors and computers and all things technical. I, on the other hand, tend to marvel at the cleverness of such things and then stroll on to the next exhibit. And when I get to the coffee shop, I'm quite interested in the things there too.

Clever people indeed. Not as clever as you.
Each to their own. I love the floor devoted to the human body. Everything physical, developmental, emotional, intellectual. 

Spiritual? Not so much. 

I love what we know about ourselves and I love reading between the lines; what we don't know. What we can't know; we'll never find out, because we're not meant to. I like to look at the exhibits and read the explanations with you in mind; your creativity, your power, your sense of humour. 

In 1953 Crick and Watson worked out that the DNA took the form of a double helix, and we started talking about the building blocks of life. The plaque on the floor said 'DNA Double Helix: changed the future in 1953'. We can scan brains. We can play with stem cells. We can cure diseases that killed millions a generation ago, but the building blocks of life? Can we stay alive indefinitely? Can we somehow bring life back when it's gone?  Only you can do that. 

Only you did exactly that.

We are so proud of what we know. There are so many incredibly clever people out there who have worked hard and investigated more thoroughly and to whom you've given moments of insight. I like that you reveal bits and pieces here and there so that our eyes open wide with the marvellousness of it all. I just wished that now and again, attention could be drawn to the Author of it all. 

Nowhere that I could see in that monumental museum were you mentioned. There was a gallery of great scientists: Newton, Einstein, Galileo, Faraday, good old Darwin; they were pictured next to their invention, or discovery, or theory. The bookshop was full of volumes detailing their thoughts and ideas.  We are in awe of such thinkers.  There was an impressive array of volumes by Richard Dawkins with his particular brand of aggressive atheism and the ideas he promotes that this is all there is; I couldn't see anything about Creation. Nothing that might acknowledge that everything we have and everything we have found out is because you have allowed it.  The museum is an impressive shrine to the power of the human mind.

It's widely thought that science and faith are mutually exclusive but I don't see why that should be. Einstein didn't think that science had disproved you, and yet so many people these days think that you can subscribe to either one or the other, but not both. I wonder why, when there are so many unanswered questions. We all believe in something. If you were to go for a wander in the Science Museum, you'd think we only believe in ourselves.

Anyway. 

We had a nice time. We looked around, we had tea and a cake and we sprinted through the shop as fast as we could before the children demanded souvenirs. And then we emerged, blinking, into the sunshine. 

Music. 

Coming from a balcony of the Victoria and Albert museum opposite, a brass quartet was playing music.  The strains of something familiar. 

'Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found,
Was blind, but now I see.'

Oh my goodness. 

It was beautiful. The musicians had jazzed it up a bit so it took a moment or two to work out the central 
tune, but once I had it, it was unmistakeable. 

Another Newton (1725-1807) but a man who saw things as they were. He saw beyond himself to what really matters.


The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.


We invented the television and the computer and we broke codes at Bletchley Park and we sent rockets into space and put satellites in orbit, but you alone are God. You're the only One who sees beyond our myopic vision. We celebrate our insights and intellect but you must smile a wry smile at our spectacular limitations. We reach for the sky, but you made it. I saw an exhibit about the sun: we know that its surface temperature is about 6000deg C and we know that it's 150,000,000km from earth, and we know that it's necessary for life ... but you moulded it and made it shine.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

Oh, Lord God. We are so pleased with ourselves, but our achievements are nothing in comparison to you. It made me smile to see the crowd stop and listen, some singing along, and to hear the applause for the musicians when they finished and took a bow. They played beautifully and the tune was one that it amongst the most special hymns that we have, but the words? Inspired by you. The subject matter? You. 
Bright shining as the sun

Everybody clapped as the music finished.  The stream of people exiting the Science Museum into the sunshine cheered and offered their approval to the musicians. It was indeed a lovely moment. A warm Saturday afternoon in central London with a street market and entertainers and a brass quartet on the balcony of a historic building. 

Thankyou. 

I clapped too, but my praise was for you. It always will be. 

Lord God, Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in them, when I've been here ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, I'll have no less days to sing your praise than when I've first begun. 

Amen. 





5 comments:

  1. So beautiful. I was picking beans with a friend the other day, and we were marveling at the tiny seeds that produce vines full of food. Praise God for beans, something we cannot invent.
    I wanted you to know that the Lord brought you and your family to my mind last night and this morning as I prayed. May He pour on the blessings, sweet friend-across-the-sea.

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    1. Thanks Ginger. I love that He gives us these gifts of achievements and so often we soak them up and marvel at how clever we are; without Him we can do nothing.
      Thankyou for your prayers! Praying for God's blessing for you and your family as you get back into the rhythm of school and become reacquainted with your alarm clock...

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  2. Helen!! This is beautiful and I adore how you speak to God in your writing, please don't read that in a (wasn't that cute) voice, it truly touched me. And when you clapped for God my eyes leaked (man alive, you'd think I was hormonal today!) lol I had an expereince like that (minus amazing grace) at the Drumheller Museum in Alberta (Canada), Drumheller is where all the dinosaur remains are found. Everywhere the evidence of God but no human soul acknowledges it.

    One day every knee will bow.

    I am beside myself that you live in my home land. I am from 'the north' but my brother and sister live in London and the cycle race went straight past her flat. I know live in Canada and have for the past 20 years.

    It has been a pleasure meeting you today!
    Shelley

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    1. Thanks Shelley. Good to meet you too; look forward to getting to know you! I'm a northerner too; I live in Derbyshire but have family in London. Whereabouts in the north are you from? What brought you to Canada?
      I love it when I get the little glimpses of God. The Natural History Museum is guaranteed to show His glory but suddenly I see Him all around me and it takes my breath away.
      See you soon.
      Hx

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    2. OK here it is I'm from Burnley Lancashire! My only saving grace is that we have a decent football team!! lol Actualy a village outside of Burnley makes me feel better. Or in Canada I tell people Manchester - they get that! My father use to live in Buxton Derbyshire. I came to Canada as a missionary ... to work with Operation Mobilization. I met and married my Canadian man and we have been in pastoral ministry since we married - just celebrated our 18th anniversary. No children but we do have dogs lol.

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