Jan 11, 2014

saturday med.itations: Wanderers

You are probably familiar with road maps. They enable you to go from one spot to another, even if you are travelling to a place you’ve never been before. Cities and towns are dots on the map, and lines that represent roads and highway connect the dots. The dots stay in the same place, because towns usually don’t pick up and move. The lines may shift slightly when old roads get rerouted or new ones built. But generally the maps don’t change much over time.

Star maps are very much like road maps. You can rely on the stars plotted on such maps, and you can create imaginary lines to connect them to form constellations. The stars are like cities and towns. Their positions in relation to each other never change, or they shift so slightly over thousands of years that we don’t notice the difference in our lifetime.

As the earth moves in its yearly orbit, the stars rise about four minutes earlier each day. But they stay in formation at all times, so the stars that form the Big Dipper always form the Big Dipper. And Polaris, the star at the tip of the Little Dipper’s handle, is always at the tip of the Little Dipper’s handle.

When ancient astronomers noticed a few stars – five, to be exact – that did not remain in formation, they realized that they were observing a special phenomenon. By plotting the movements of these renegade stars, they discovered that they fallowed their own routes according to their own set schedules – independent of the rest of the stars. The astronomers named the five different “stars” planets, a name that means wanderers. They had discovered Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, but they did not know that planets were other worlds, like Earth, obeying the law of gravity and travelling in perfect orbits around the nearest star – the sun.

Not a star or planet in space defies the law of gravity. Every object in space obediently follows a precise path around the sun, the source of celestial light. And every Christian is on a path set by Jesus, the Light of the world.

source: Nature Quest

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