The Joy of Gravity Waves (not too nerdy)
Last week there was a major scientific announcement that Gravity Waves had been detected for the first time. I find the science fascinating but in this post I want to link it to goodness and joy.
Over one billion years ago, two black holes spiralled together in a cataclysmic event that caused waves or ripples in the very fabric of space-time, a bit like the ripples that radiate out in a pond when a stone is dropped into the pond. This was an event of immense power and energy. In a universe which operates on cause and effect, this points to the enormity and power of God. It also reminds us of our insignificance.
Then 100 years ago Albert Einstein was thinking carefully about the universe we live in. He developed some formulas to describe how the physical universe works and these formulas seemed to suggest the existence of gravity waves. Scientists argued back and forth for decades until they were convinced gravity waves were real. Then they had to figure what sort of mathematics they needed to use to determine what gravity waves would look like if they were detected. Then they had to figure out how to build an exquisitely sensitive laser measuring device to detect these waves.
And now humans, who are able to rationally observe and describe this universe in which we live, have measured these waves for the very first time. An amazing, significant, event. I think it gave both the scientists who detected the waves AND God great joy. And if we stop and think about it for ourselves, it can bring us joy as well.
I think it works a bit like this: Those of you who are parents may recall a time when you have got a new thing for your children - maybe a complex toy or even a new house for them to live in. You didn't tell them all the details of this new thing but you let them discover the details for themselves - a cool button on the toy or a secret cupboard in the bedroom. Maybe you can recall their joy when they discovered those details. Maybe you can recall the joy you experienced when your children shared their joy with you.
In a series of sermons last year we looked at the pervasive goodness of God in creation, the progressive goodness of God in working out salvation through history, and the particular goodness of God in our own lives. We saw that awareness of goodness leads to joy, first in God - the most joyful being in the universe - and then in us.
We suggested a number of ways we can cultivate an awareness of goodness and receive God's joy. These included reading the scriptures, appreciating scenery, singing songs, recalling God's saving acts in history, and taking an interest in science.
So spend some time pondering the amazing discovery of amazing gravity waves, it is an example of the way taking an interest in science can bring us joy.