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Echoes of Epiphany II

“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds… … For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:5,9

I started Sunday’s sermon off with a small confession. This morning’s reflection starts of the same way, although a little less self-effacing. I don’t make a secret of my various hobbies. I have several of them, which fortunately keeps them fresh, as I can move from one to the other as my interest waxes and wanes, and as circumstances allow. Right now my hobby of astrophotography seems to be on a brief hiatus if for no other reason than there is a fair bit of snow and cold between our house and the telescope. The equipment can function reasonably well in this weather, although I do worry about snow getting into some of the electronics necessary for this work. Mostly, we have not had many clear nights since the beginning of December when I shot my last sequence of pictures, and the ones that have been clear have been COLD!

Still, I wanted to share with you at least one of my most recent attempts. If you follow this link, it shows a picture that I took of the “Triangulum Galaxy,” or Messier 33. This is a galaxy that is rife with new “life” in the sense that it has a tremendous number of star-forming regions, where new stars are constantly being born:

http://www.astrobin.com/230032/

In order to get this picture, I had to train my telescope on a particular piece of sky for almost two hours, taking a series of nineteen six-minute long exposures. This galaxy is barely visible to the unaided eye in very dark skies. Even then it appears as nothing more than a smudge. In reality, this is a galaxy some 5.8 million light-years away. If it were the same brightness as the full moon, it would appear slightly larger. Instead, we only appreciate its full colour and beauty when using a camera to gather the light.

Epiphany is about allowing ourselves to see things in a new way, or taking the time to appreciate and understand that God is indeed working in our lives. Sometimes it can be obvious, but sometimes it requires quiet reflection and contemplation. My ongoing invitation to you in this shortened season of Epiphany is to take the time to reflect on how and where God has been present in your life. What is God calling you to see in a new way?

During this season of Epiphany and beyond, I will continue to send out these weekly reflections. You may also check out our website at http://www.st-matthews-uc.org for recent sermons, updates, and reflections.

Yours in Christ,

John

Upcoming Events

  • The Taming of the Shrew, Mondays at 10am in the Conference Room.
    • Today’s session (January 18th) was postponed. The next session resumes on January 25th.
  • Tuesday, January 19th: Board Meeting – 7:30pm
  • Wednesday, January 27th: Sandwich Day for the Drop-In Centre.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls Seminar
    • Coming soon I will be offering a short course/seminar on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Originally I planned to offer this in February, but as I am going to be partnering with the Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners (CALL), I’ve agreed with them to delay its start to better work with their schedule. Look to this space for more details!
  • Annual General Meeting
    • While the Board has not officially set a date yet, preparations are underway for our next annual congregational meeting. Wendy is now receiving written submissions for the 2015 Annual Report, which we would like in the office by February 10th.
  • Congregational Membership Classes
    • If you or someone you know would like to formalize membership with St. Matthew’s, I am hoping to run a membership class in the next few months. If you are interested, please email me, call me at the church, or speak with me directly on Sunday mornings.

 

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