The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. Psalm 19:1
I understand why some people no longer watch the news.
Much of the news reported today is pessimistic, painful, hyperbolizing, divisive, cruel, and untrue. It’s too much.
We can become overwhelmed by the vast sorrow and unspeakable grief of daily human life. Layer upon layer of trauma is piled upon us as gun deaths soar and no one seems to care, as war continues and no one seems to care, as hunger and disease continue to ravage children and no one seems to care.
I mentioned to friends yesterday that I was excited to see the images from the James Webb Telescope this week and they had no idea what I was talking about. They are bright, college-educated professionals who simply don’t read the news. They think most of it’s only half true.
They know that the January 6 hearings are happening and they know that gas prices are higher but getting lower. They know that there’s a war in Ukraine and they heard Prime Ministry Abe was killed.
Again, the news tells us what’s going on in the world. Or not.
I believe that we who are people of faith need to know that people in Japan are grieving and neighbors in Highland Park are in shock and families close to home are unable to pay for medical procedures. We who are called to serve need to know things in order to care for God’s people. We can’t serve people if we don’t know what’s going on in their lives.
But the news doesn’t tell us everything.
The 19th Psalm declares that the heavens tell us things too. They speak of the majesty of God in ways that defy all words. Because God has allowed certain people to have the vision and gifts to build a miraculous tool for conducting infrared astronomy, we are about to see – with our own eyes – new images of the Glory of God.
We need these images.
Just as we need to stare deeply into the stamen of a cone flower and the iris of a dog’s eye and the folds of a baby’s finger to find wonder in these days, we can find unfathomable wonder in studying images from deepest space never seen before.
These images aren’t merely news; they are evidence of something more mysterious than we can possibly comprehend. I call that mystery God and God continues to be with us in the thick of things.