Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Unabridged Readings for My Upcoming Sermon
Here are two readings, related to the sun, that I am considering using for the upcoming service I'm putting together. I'll probably trim the latter down a little.
The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Brian Greene, p.171 (2004)
Where did our highly ordered sun come from? The sun formed about 5 billion years ago from an initially diffuse cloud of gas that began to swirl and clump under the mutual gravitational attraction of all its constituents. As the gas cloud got denser, the gravitational pull of one part on another got stronger, causing the cloud to collapse further in on itself. And as gravity squeezed the cloud tighter, it got hotter. Ultimately, it got hot enough to ignite nuclear processes that generated enough outward-flowing radiation to stem further gravitational contraction of the gas. A hot, stable, brightly burning star was born.
So where did the diffuse cloud of gas come from? It likely formed from the remains of older stars that reached the end of their lives, went supernova, and spewed their contents out into space.
Child of the Sun, by Margaret Dulles Edwards, p. 37 Beacon Press (1957, originally 1939)
This is the story of the Pharoah named Amenophis (a.k.a. Amenhotep
Suddenly, without changing the direction of his gaze, Amenophis raised his arm and threw a stone with all his strength into the water. At the sound of the splash, as if some magic spell had been broken, the whole garden became alive. The fish went scurrying to safety. The lotus flowers swayed on their long stems. The cat sprang lightly to the branch of a sycamore tree. The pharoah rose to his feet. He was still looking into the pool, but now his eyes were seeing, watching the ever-widening circles on the surface of the water. The ripples sparkled in the sunshine.
"It is a sign," he said. Today I will act. I will give one great command. As the stone causes these widening circles, so at my word the truth will spread in my kingdom.
“Too long priests have followed their own ideas and planned their own ceremonies. The people have worshiped gods in many forms. I shall allow this no longer. No more wavering; no more half-way measures. I will carry out my ideas. Ever since that day just ten years ago when Mesu and I talked together about the sun, I have tried to find the truth about the gods. Now I am sure. There is but one God, the power of life behind the sun. My people have always known of the greatness of the sun. Today they shall worship this power with new understanding. They shall call his name Aten.
“This day is called my 'Name Day.' It will be a 'Name Day' never to be forgotten in the history of my people—a day of new names and new meanings.
“We will have a new symbol for our god. Since ancient times the sun has been known by many symbols: a pyramid, a bird, or the wings of a soaring hawk. But these signs are understood only in Egypt. Aten is the god of the whole world and his symbol shall belong to all peoples wherever they live. Aten shall be known by the disk of the sun with rays reaching down like hands with gifts.”
And here is a link to the data behind an astounding fact: it can take 100,000 years for photons of light created in the sun's core to make their way to the surface. Once they get to the surface, it only takes 8.5 minutes to reach the earth (which, since it's moving at the speed of light, is interestingly enough, moving magnitudes of order faster than lightning).
I would also like to add this link, regarding the types of stars in the universe. Though I may not touch on this topic directly in the sermon, the general concept is implied.
chant/prayer/mantra: stay calm, carry on, enjoy your time. breathe.
agape to all,