A new article in the journal Nature this week reveals the latest and largest discovery in the universe in quite some time. Scientists have found the biggest black holes known to exist, each one 10 billion times the size of our sun. A team led by astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered the two gigantic black holes in clusters of elliptical galaxies more than 300 million light years away. Described as "monstrous", by Berkeley astrophysicist Chung-Pei Ma, they are almost twice as large as the previously largest black hole. Dennis Overbye, science reporter for the NY Times, writes, "Black holes, regions of space where gravity is so intense that not even light can escape from it, are among the weirdest of the predictions of Albert Einstein’s curved-space theory of gravity, general relativity — so weird that Einstein himself did not believe it. He once wrote to a friend that there ought to be a law of nature forbidding such a thing." That is dark and that is large.
Black holes define complete darkness. The message of the season of Advent, on the other hand, is the light of Christ that enters the world to drive out the darkness from among the world and the souls of women and men. That is precisely how John's Gospel begins. But, I cannot get over how large that is: 10 billion times larger than our sun.
Sara Renner's senior lecture recital last week at Columbus State's Schwob School of Music was really well done. I was joined by a group from Epworth and we were all impressed. The first half featured Sara teaching on the history, impact, and theory of her chosen piece of music, followed by her performance of it. At the break in between, I turned to those around me and said, "We have witnessed the truth of God. For just when we thought we knew it all, or at least a lot, we sit and listen to an entire lecture on a subject that we nothing about!" We were all blown away. In that moment God was reminding me, through this gifted musician and friend, that I am very small and God is not.
God captivates me with song and with size. If a black hole is that large, then how much larger is the God who can not only conceive of it...but with just a word create it? Advent calls us to prepare for the coming of the One who is light and life. May we delight at such a thought!