UUCA Connections, our monthly newsletter, includes service descriptions, columns from the Minister, Board of Trustees President, the Director of Lifespan Religious Education and the Assistant Minister. It also includes upcoming events, timely articles, and one page that is devoted to our Earth & Social Justice Ministry discussions and program offerings. Read Rev. Mark Ward’s column below, or click here to read the entire newsletter, and get a better feel for our congregation and how you would fit in!
As a newspaper journalist for 25 years before entering ministry, I never feel the day is quite right if I don’t begin it perusing the paper. It’s a challenging discipline at times to make my way through all the troubles that are plaguing the world, both locally and around the world. But every once in a while a story appears that sends something like an electric current of amazement through me.
So it was in this last week as I read an account of the latest findings from scientists monitoring sophisticated telescopes in Antarctica. They reported the most conclusive evidence to date confirming the Big-Bang Theory of the origin of the universe. Like finding ripples in a pond after a frog has jumped in, the scientists detected faint spiral patterns in the bath of microwave radiation that permeates all space. Except in this case, the frog is a kind of breaking point in the early universe so massive that it created waves of gravity, something Einstein proposed but before now had never been discovered.
Plunging into this science I get quickly over my head, though years ago I covered enough of it to have a sense of its importance. I bring it up to suggest that there is a spiritual lesson here, one that continues to affirm us as Unitarian Universalists. The chief one, I believe, is that the universe is knowable. This is a statement of faith. It affirms that we humans are part of the universe, interwoven in the midst of it, not beings awaiting some future life in “a better place.” A second lesson is that the universe is worth knowing; that all that we do to learn about how it works and where we fit within it enriches us and gives us the perspective we need to live with compassion and joy.
And all this is true even when we realize that we will never know it all. This is one of the consequences of the Big-Bang Theory: that there are parts of the universe we can never know because they are speeding away from us at the same speed that we are speeding from them. So, we also bow to mystery, not as occult knowledge available to only a few, but as simply a fact of our existence. It gives us cause for humility and reason to wonder at the astonishing universe in which we are privileged to live.