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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

28 March 2012: Rev'd. Mick Micklethwaite, St Mary Magdalen, Sheet

Awe and Wonder

Glancing up at the night sky earlier this year I spotted two bright planets in close proximity. And I did a double take, because it struck me as unusual. And indeed it is - in this case, Jupiter and Venus, passing by each other in the night sky.

The thing is, these days we need bright features in the night sky to catch our eye. Most of the time, the sky above us is just the sky above us. Even on the edges of the South Downs, the enormity of the night sky is easily lost to us from light pollution. The stars appeared much more vibrant and numerous in my youth.

It was the sheer wonder of the night sky, when I was growing up, that made me ask questions about the world, the universe and everything in it. I fell in love with science and scientific enquiry. Somewhat later in life, I began to ask questions of a deeper nature about meaning and purpose. But it all led back to the night sky, and the wonder of things beyond us.

And now I think, with a somewhat obscured night sky today, what are the things that make us gaze in awe and wonder and ask the questions about why things are the way they are, and about meaning and purpose? Or maybe it has become too easy to be content with our "night sky" being obscured so that we don't need to ask the questions. I hope not.

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