MOST RECENT POSTS

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Creation Sunday: A Celebration of the Universe, the Solar System and Genesis 1

We had an enjoyable All-Age service last Sunday with a simple illustration of the vastness of the Solar system - and some further brief thought about the scale of the Universe. Then, we explored the opportunity we have as Christians to celebrate both of those and the wisdom of Genesis 1 together.

A very simplified model of the Sun (a cheap lightweight football, part painted over with acrylic paint) was placed on the pulpit. Then very basic models of the larger planets were handed to each of the children brave enough to volunteer ‘to show the rest of the congregation something of special interest’.

The planets were made up, to illustrate their size compared to that of the football sun, and made from
·      Painted marble-size cotton balls for Earth and Venus
·      Painted ping-pong ball size cotton balls for Jupiter and Saturn (with a cardboard ring system glued on to the latter)
·      and garden seeds Sellotaped on to small pieces of card labelled (1)Mercury, (2)Mars and (3)Pluto (The seed representing the planets’ sizes although should be even smaller i.e. a grain of sand) .

The children with Earth, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn each walked round the church to show the congregation their comparative sizes, whilst Mercury, Mars and Pluto were given to another child to hand to three members of the congregation to pass around among themselves.

The children returned from their walks and it was then explained where they would have to go to represent the circuit of their planet on the scale of ‘our’ football/sun.

Mercury – 42ft – to the back of our pews (to my delight when I asked ‘Who’s holding Mercury?’ (one of the seeds on a card) it had conveniently reached the back row and was being held by a new visitor to the church))
Venus – 76 ft – to the back of the church. Venus was duly carried there.
Then an explanation only that
·      Earth -106 ft – would be 30 feet further in the churchyard
·      Mars - 163 ft – would be ‘by the war memorial’
·      Jupiter – 552 ft – would be 3 football pitches away
·      Saturn -1012 ft – down by the river (at which point, the personable young girl holding Saturn protested ‘I’m not going there!’ to the amusement and delight of the congregation)
·      Pluto – 4200ft – up to the bridge over our main arterial road
It was then explained that this vast system is only one of billions of billions of similar systems throughout the whole Universe. At this point, I referred to the song ‘The Bible Starts with Parable’, and used the words as the basis for the rest of the short talk. The first verse celebrates the wisdom of the Genesis Stories: then the second half of the three verses celebrates the miracle of the creation of the whole Universe as God’s work. (Click Here to view the song)


This needed a bit of preparatory work, which it was emphasized was all very approximate. But from remarks afterwards, it was felt to be thought-provoking, much enjoyed by both children and adults and gave at least some people, a fresh perspective. Just how great is your God?

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'