Day 7 - Reflection

Danish scientist Lene Vestergaard Hau and a team at Harvard have experimented with atoms to see what happens when they are slowed down enough to form a vapor cloud.  It takes an extensive effort to cool the atoms and make them almost perfectly still.  By virtue of making this cloud, Hau and her team created one of the coldest places ever imagined at close to absolute zero (or roughly, --459.67 degrees Fahrenheit).  Hau then took the fastest thing in the universe, a light beam, and sent it through the atom cloud.  The result was that she could slow the speed of light, normally 671 million miles/hour, to just 15 miles/hour.  A very fast runner or a cyclist could, in that moment, travel faster than the speed of light through that atom cloud. 

When I heard about this research on the popular science podcast, “Radiolab,” I immediately drew a parallel to our relationship with Jesus Christ.  In fact, I was reminded of the opening lines from Genesis when the earth was “formless and empty darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”  With one command, “Let there be light,” God changes all of that, thus forging a relationship that continues with us to this day. 

But Hau’s experiment didn’t end with the light beam’s eventual departure from the atom cloud.  Although the light beam finally emerged and resumed its normal high rate of speed, Hau discovered that the light beam left an imprint on the atoms, which could now replicate the light that once passed through them.  In a very similar way, our lives are changed forever—much like the atoms—when we become followers of Christ.  From the apostles of Jesus’ day to all the believers of today, we are called to emit Christ’s light in all that we do for all to see. 

Stewardship represents one tangible form of answering such a call.  By committing the first fruits of our labors, we are giving thanks and praise to the Most High who created us.  By giving of our time, talent, and treasure, we are ensuring that God’s good work continues in a world that desperately yearns for light.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

PO Box 306

105 East Washington Street

Middleburg, VA 20118

t: 540.687.6297

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