The Blog of Pastor Mike Wilkins
"The long run" referred to in the title of this blog is, in the first place, the many years Mike Wilkins served as West London's solo pastor, and then its Senior Pastor, since he and his wife Deb moved to London (and this church) in 1984.
In these past few years (beginning November 2011,) Mike's various health challenges, particularly a serious and ongoing case of cancer, has added another layer to the "long run" metaphor, and lots to blog about. Mike is currently on an extended Sick Leave, but generally worships with the church family on Sunday mornings.
With the publication of a book he wrote in 2016 entitled "Glory in the Face" (now available electronically and in paperback from Amazon.ca, and other online venders), Mike has just launched a new website, which will serve as a sort of scrapbook for readers of the book, with relevant background photos, for example, of That Last Final Solo Canoe Trip in May, 2011, as well as additional information about the book, and--coming soon--a new set of blog posts, mostly about the peace of God and the joy of the Lord and the face of Christ and the strength to face anything. You'll find the new website now at www.gloryintheface.com.
Mar21SatMarch 21, 2015
Yesterday was a very good day to remember what Patricia Graynamore said so convincingly in the only Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie that neither of them seem willing to admit they starred in. What she said is that her father says that “almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement.”
Yesterday, we had much less excuse than we usually have to be asleep and not totally amazed. Not only was there another Vernal Equinox (by which began another Spring), but there was also a Solar Eclipse. And last night there was a Supermoon. Each one of those wonders is well worth taking the time to think about (or to Google and then to think about) and then to be constantly and totally amazed about. I choose the Solar Eclipse.
A total eclipse of the sun is possible only because, amazingly, the Sun, being about 400 times bigger than the Moon, is also about 400 times farther away from the Earth. It’s because of these two remarkable facts that our fairly large Moon (Relatively much much larger than any other moon we know about) is occasionally able to block out almost completely our enormously large Sun when its orbit temporarily positions it directly between the Sun and some of us here on Earth.
Some of us here on Earth are inclined to see in this sort of thing intentional significance rather than meaningless coincidence. I am one of them and I'm hoping that that’s an indication that I am in fact awake rather than asleep and that I am in fact living in some state of constant, total amazement rather than some sort of intellectual stupor. Hence, this blog.
C.S.Lewis, one of my all-time favourite authors, writing about the Bible’s Book of Psalms, declares one of them “to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.” It begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4 ESV)
So today I ask myself: what was yesterday’s total solar eclipse saying (in its speechless, wordless voice)? I wonder if what it is saying is this. Since the Moon is a very large and very beautiful but lifeless spherical rock and since the Sun, an even more beautiful sphere of hydrogen, is much much larger: so much larger that its gravitational pressure (340 billion times that of the Earth’s) is continually crushing hydrogen into helium --- since this is the case, every single second, 700 million tons of hydrogen is converted into 695 million tons of helium. Every single second. As a result, every single second of our lives so far, the Sun has produced five million tons of electromagnetic radiation. Some of it reaches the Earth (in eight minutes flat) and we perceive it as light. Physically, the Sun is our primary source of light and our only source of life-sustaining heat. And yet, every once in a while, this beautiful, cold, lifeless ball of rock almost totally blocks from our view that beautiful, brilliant, hot ball of hydrogen. The effect is chilling. (Yesterday’s eclipse is estimated to have decreased our supply of solar power about 34 gigawatts, for a few minutes cooling us off about 3°C. I wonder who even noticed.)
Perhaps yesterday's eclipse was telling us to be very very careful. Careful about the things of this world, some of them quite amazing in themselves, being able to darken our view of our only real (physical) source of enlightenment and life, and being able to cool us down and to put us to sleep. Careful about the real reason that almost everybody we know, maybe everybody we see, perhaps everybody we talk to, is not living in a state of constant, total amazement.
Today is the first full day of Spring. Let us wake up and look around and spend today constantly, totally amazed.
P.S. The movie is “Joe vs. the Volcano”, and I’m a big fan, partly because of what Patricia Graynamore said.
P.P.S. There will be a lunar eclipse this April 4. Let’s try to stay awake for it.