A Religious Experience at Your Fingertips
Dear old and new friends,
Instead of thinking like a seventeenth century woman or man, think, live and pray like someone of the twenty-first century, and you will have an unbelievable experience! Four hundred years ago at sunrise as the sun rose over the eastern horizon people prayed, ate their breakfast and began their day. At sunset as the sun sunk below the western horizon church bells rang calling farm laborers from the fields back inside the city walls for supper and rest. Both sunrise and sunset were then and remain today pillars of stability and of our vocabulary, even if they don’t exist in reality!
(Stop reading this Haystack reflection…your doorbell just rang!)
“Yes, Officer, how can I help you?” you say, opening your front door to a policeman standing there.
“Excuse me, but do you know how fast you were going?”
“What are you mean, sir? I wasn’t even in my car; I was sitting at my computer right here in my home. I wasn’t going anywhere!”
“I clocked you going 67,000 miles an hour! Where were you going in such a great hurry?”
Like the person in that mini-parable, at this moment you and all of us are traveling 67,000 miles an hour as Earth orbits the sun; that is unless you are an old fashioned flat world believer. And as a speed demon you also are spinning around as an inhabitant on Earth as it rotates on its axis at 915 miles an hour (speed measured at The Kennedy Space Center; your rotation speed will vary depending on the latitude of where you live). Fasten your safety belt; as an earthling belonging to our sun’s family of planets inside the spiral Milky Way Galaxy we are hurling outward into space at 1.4 million miles an hour being pulled towards an unknown destination in the direction of (and perhaps beyond) the star constellation Hydra.
As you attempt to grapple with these incomprehensive speeds without the fake effects of Hollywood’s glowing heavenly mystical clouds, you are having a religious experience! Be forewarned: accepting these estimated speeds, or even that the earth moves, could make you a heretic! That is it you were alive in 1600.
On June 22, 1633, Galileo was condemned by the Roman Inquisition as being vehemently suspect of heresy because his teachings contradicted Holy Scripture. Also because he believed the sun was not the center of the world and that it didn’t move from east to west but rather it was the world that moved.
Galileo escaped the fiery fate of Giordano Bruno, the monk philosopher who supported the Copernican theory along with other false ideas. He was declared in 1600 a heretic and was burned at the stake in Rome. The Polish scholar Nicholas Copernicus died before he was declared a heretic in 1616, but not before releasing his teaching that the sun, not Earth, was the center of the universe. Galileo avoided a fiery death by humbly denying his findings and submitting to being “suspect” of heresy. He agreed for the rest of his life to be silent, and live under house arrest, and died that way in 1642.
Once heretical, here now three prayers for a twenty-first century cosmic believer.
A Middle of the Night Prayer
Awake in the darkness of outer space,
restless now in this night, soon to end,
westward revolving as Earth rolls on
pulled to our Great Star magically.
I feel none of this laying still in my bed.
I believe but don’t feel Earth’s spinning
towards our light and life generous Star,
full of promises of a newer, better day
like Eden’s first hydrogen explosive dawn.
Morning Appearance of Our Day Star
Blindingly your laser-like golden light
erases night’s darkness of space.
You, our favorite star of our Galaxy’s
more than two billion sun blazing stars,
are one star calling us to today’s work.
Once you were worshiped as god of gods.
We salute you, healing Sun Sacrament
of life and light, clock of day and night.
You our sky icon of the Source of All Life.
Nightly Disappearance of Our Day Star
This day is done; its work and toil are over.
Earth fades away in the turquoise twilight;
as the cosmic curtain silently rises we turn
outward to behold a dark sea of silver stars
from which, as dust, once we have come.
Glittering diamond lights of cremated stars
millenniums dead, your light still lives on in us,
and some of night sky’s other sun-stars.
One with Earth may I spin asleep in peace,
westward confident of a new day of promise.