If you read the subversivepreacher posts of Sunday sermons, this will sound familiar. It is last Sunday’s sermon reduced like a flavorful sauce into a five-hundred word column for the newspaper.
It can be grand and inspiring to perch on a hill above the lake and savor the blue-green vista before us. We feel awed by the beauty and intricate balance of nature and our small part in it. But it is another thing altogether, to sit beneath the stars feeling naked as we recognize the beauty of nature is actually hot gaseous explosions into which everything we know will be incinerated in a Nano-second.
We are tiny neck hairs on a small planet lost in space with a growing sense of how infinitesimal we are. If you haven’t notice this yet, allow me to paint the picture.
The light from the star closest to our sun (Proxima Centauri) takes four years to get here. Light from the most distant stars we see at night with the naked eye, has taken up to ten millennia to reach us. So, while we see those sparkling orbs up there, the light we are seeing was actually created between four and ten thousand years ago.
In other words, we are not actually seeing those stars when we look up. Instead we are seeing the past. We think we are seeing those stars and that light as if in real time, but we are only seeing what they once were. In fact, some of that light is emanating from sources that no longer exists, the ghostly image of a dead star. Still, that light we see from sources long ago exploded or burnt out, has lasted longer than all of human history and will twinkle in space long after any life walking the earth today.
Our lives are small, and our smallness is in fact, part of the beauty of God’s creation. What we imagine is hopeful or dreadful at any given moment, is not the last word. So how we frame our lives on this planet will make an enormous difference in how we live our lives. For example, what we do with our time and money, at least that which is somewhat discretionary, reveals better than almost anything else, how we frame our lives.
Time and money are the currencies in the economy of God. How we spend them and what we spend them on, declares our values better than any words we use. A value declared with words is empty when not given flesh and blood by the use of our time and money. In fact, telling ourselves and others what we care about and value is a big lie when it is not consistent with what we spend our time and money on.
Our lives are small, our time is short, but what we do can make all the difference to the world. Just like 100,000,000 pennies scattered and by themselves are of limited value, altogether they are worth a million dollars. What we do with our time and money, when gathered and connected with others, is of enormous value or tremendous damage. Whether it is saving Seneca Lake, the Amazon rain forests and the air we breathe, it will require huge amounts of our time and money to accomplish. Let’s be real.