Yesterday in 1924, Edwin Hubble announced the discovery of other galaxies in the universe. Up to that point, it was believed that the Milky Way represented the entirety of the universe. How wrong we were. His discovery led to the eventual realization that there are at least 200 billion galaxies in the universe (and likely even more than that). The Webb Space Telescope (just launched on Christmas) will likely reveal even more about the breadth of the universe than we know now.
Hubble’s discovery in 1924 just continued the ways that we keep finding out how much bigger it all is than we think. Thousands of years ago, people didn’t know much beyond their village or tribal area. People eventually began to realize that there was much more to the land where they lived as they discovered oceans and began to realize how much more there was to the world than they knew. As telescopes were invented, humanity began to see that stars weren’t just lights in the sky but instead were stars and planets. We thought initially that we were the center of the universe and everything revolved around our planet until that realization changed. But even then, we thought that our little collection of planets and a sun was all that there was. But those discoveries began to change as well as we began to see further and wider than we could have imagined in those villages thousands of years ago.
At the same time, we began to see that there is a seemingly infinite depth as we look deeper in our bodies, in nature, in creation. We have discovered cells, neurons, atoms, quarks, and so much more. We have learned that living organisms like trees and plants communicate with one another in ways that we are only just now beginning to understand. We have delved into quantum physics and found that many things that we believed were absolutes are far from it.
This is what I love about science, philosophy, and theology among other “-ologies” There’s always more to discover.
Yesterday morning, it was an image of the Andromeda Galaxy that was at the top of my instagram feed and then walking the labyrinth at the Franciscan Center nearby reminded me of the bands of the galaxy which then reminded me of seeing similarly curved lines in a frozen puddle several weeks ago. There is always more to discover, learn, understand, experience, see, hear, feel, and grow.
I go back to Psalm 8:3-4… When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Entering 2022, that’s what I want to keep on – never settling for where I am but instead open to what is still out there of God, of others, of the world, and so much more.