13 November 2015

Distance from here to there


Distances are hard to measure in the skies. To measure distances in the universe, a person would need to construct what is commonly referred to as a "cosmic distance ladder". In other words, astronomers use different methods to determine the distances to objects; the specific method which is used depends on how far away the object is. But all of the methods are wonderful combinations of science and mathematics!

I travel a fair bit and enjoy seeing the world through my camera and my own eyes. If you are familiar with Flickr, and even my Flickr site, you know I have thousands of shots of nature and enjoy seeing what God made.

When I'm close to a flower or the beach, the distance is fairly easy to determine. When I'm on an airplane and see the clouds or this rainbow which I saw from the golf course on Monday, I cannot so easily figure out how to measure the items. Of course, as a former mathematics teacher, I could use angles and radii and approximately measure items in the distance, but without all the formulas and measures, it's another story.

When the thunder sounds and lightning flashes, the formula is fairly simple. Count the number of seconds that pass between a flash of lightning and the crack of thunder that follows it, then divide that number by five. The resulting number will tell you how many miles away you are from where lightning just struck. (For metric conversions, divide the number of seconds by 3 if you want the answer in kilometers. A three-second count say, would place the lightning strike about 1,020 m away, or roughly 1 km.)

OK, if you are not mathematically oriented, then you might simply learn to take cover if the lightning/thunder differential is less than 3 seconds. That's easy! Don't delay.

Measuring is important historically. They built pyramids and Stonehenge, The Great Wall of China, and so many major substantial structures without computers. They measured well and those structures are still here as a result. The Book of Deuteronomy reads, "then your elders and your judges shall go out and measure the distance to the cities which are around the slain one." (21.2) Measuring mattered back then. Consider this about distance and the ark of the covenant. "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. However, there shall be between you and it a distance of about 2,000 cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” (Joshua 3.3-4) They had to know what a cubit was, and then how to measure distance.

And they had to know how to get from here to there, and from there to here.

All around the golf course on Monday I kept looking for signs to help me get from 1st hole to 2nd to 3rd...to the 18th. And knowing where we are going, and measuring our energies, and measuring our expenses-- those are all part of determining our distance.

Nothing is clearer if you know about God, than that there is a great distance between humanity and the Almighty. I guess that's what Yom Kippur is about. That's what spiritual retreats are about. We learn that we are far from Him, from His plans, from His desires for humanity and making His Kingdom come among the poor, the hungry, and the suffering. And that distance is measurable. The prophet Isaiah said, "But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear."

But there is a way to shorten that distance. Hebrews 4.16 reads, "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." God wants us to come to Him, and His arms are open to you. To me. To all of us.

The real answer is Yeshua, as we read in Hebrews chapter 10. "Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."

You want the shortest distance between two points? Between you and God? It's found in Jesus. Get to know Him. He's the Messiah and Saviour and lover of our souls. Want to talk about Him? Let's chat.

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