Read Canon Mike's reflection for Tuesday, 27 April, 2021.
Last week, amidst all the difficulties still going on in our lives, history was made….on another planet! The first flights from the Mars helicopter ‘Ingenuity’ were made. Tremendous work once again, continuing from the accomplishments of Perseverance; the latest Mars rover to explore our Red neighbour. One might say, what’s all the fuss about – mini-helicopters and drones are common-place now in our lives for many different functions. But on Mars….well, things are different. Gravity is different for a start; the very force that holds the earth together, holds planets together – and keeps our feet firmly on the ground. Secondly, the atmosphere there is different – in that there isn’t much of it there at all; and the atmosphere (air here on earth) is part of the Physics that enables flight to happen….so if there isn’t much of it, the task is much greater. And finally, unlike our drones and aircraft here on earth, one can’t just control it with a joystick. For it takes nearly 20 minutes for commands to get to Mars and a similar time to come back; try working your computer games console with a 40 minute time-lag – it just won’t work! It’ll be ‘game over’ very quickly indeed! So, everything has to be pre-programmed and sent to the Ingenuity Helicopter in advance, for it to then execute. And it even needs some systems in place that it can control itself in case things go wrong. The names of Perseverance, for the Mars Rover, and Ingenuity, for the Mars Helicopter are well chosen!
For me, as a person of faith and science, those aspects reflect something of God – since, as wonderful human beings, we are made in the image of God; as the bible tells us. I believe that when we see the very best in humankind, we see a fragment of God. When our work in the world is the best that we can do, in what our science helps us create, the endeavours we make, the inquisitive nature that we have, the desire to do good things for the sake of others…..to lay down our lives for others; then indeed do we see fragments of God, God’s own fingerprints marked within human DNA itself.
And what better way to see how God’s goodness could be manifest within humankind, than to see the works of God’s own Son; Jesus Christ – word made flesh, God incarnate who dwelt among us. Last Sunday’s gospel exemplified that nature – in the persona of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The one who would not run away when the wolf comes; the one who would stay to care for the sheep – unlike the hired hand who does not care for them. Jesus, the Good Shepherd who would persevere to the end – for our sakes; giving his life as a ransom for many. Whose genius (the very basis of ingenuity in terms of cleverness, originality and inventiveness) was demonstrated through his teaching with authority – but so too with gentleness, kindness, love and compassion; and through his very dying and rising for us, for our salvation.
So perhaps the wonders of Science, which have come from God’s own creation, can themselves, show us a fragment too of God. Admittedly, only when that science is used wisely, for the good of humankind, rather than for power or greed. We have seen some of that good science in action through this very pandemic….and we see where it is still very much needed, as those in desperate plight around the world are experiencing right now. We can see and understand the science for some of the actions we have taken in the past – like climate change; our faith helps us to look for ways in which we can address those effects, and change our world for the better of all. Science, just like our faith, is very challenging at times – but can lead us to the very central commandments of our faith too; to love our neighbour.
Today marks the start of our Liverpool Cathedral Gilbert Scott Lectures on Science and Faith 2021. Online only this year, because of the current situation, but still bringing many different subjects forward for us to reflect upon and consider within our lives, within our faith. The details are on our website (link below) and the lectures are freely viewable on our Liverpool Cathedral YouTube channel (link again below). We begin tonight with the challenges of climate change; something that affects all our lives; for which action and change are needed for us to express our love for the generations to come. I do hope you’ll be able to join us – you’ll be very welcome.
As always, with my love and prayers; go gently…..
Canon Mike 😊
The Gilbert Scott Lectures on Science and Faith 2021, Liverpool Cathedral
Further details on the Cathedral website: https://www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/108/section.aspx?category=Lectures+%26+Debates
All lectures are online (7:30pm) and are free; no booking required – lectures are live-streamed on the Cathedral YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsJ6VEpIiNKqScoNE5iUxIA
While you're here:
Why not prepare for next Sunday's worship? Our preparation sheet for adults and for children can be accessed by clicking on the Resources tab of this website: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.