• Pastor Nick

Direct Contact

Recently I came across a poignant story about missing out. The story speaks powerfully and is a great reminder to me as to how we sometimes (maybe often times) miss out on opportunities for direct contact with a stunning God, world, and universe. Viki Weisskopf, a renowned physicist, tells this story:

Several years ago I received an invitation to give a series of lectures at the University of Arizona at Tucson. I was delighted to accept because it would give me a chance to visit the Kitts Peak astronomical observatory, which had a very powerful telescope I had always wanted to look through. I asked my hosts to arrange an evening to visit the observatory so I could look directly at some interesting objects through the telescope. But I was told this would be impossible because the telescope was constantly in use for photography and other research activities. There was no time for simply looking at objects. In that case, I replied, I would not be able to come to deliver my talks. Within days I was informed that everything had been arranged according to my wishes.

We drove up the mountain on a wonderfully clear night. The stars and the Milky Way glistened intensely and seemed almost close enough to touch. I entered the cupola and told the technicians who ran the computer-activated telescope that I wanted to see Saturn and a number of the galaxies. It was a great pleasure to observe with my own eyes and with the utmost clarity all the details I had only seen on photographs before. As I looked at all that, I realized that the room had begun to fill with people, and one by one they too peeked into the telescope. I was told that these were astronomers attached to the observatory, but they had never before had the opportunity of looking directly at the objects of their investigations. I can only hope this encounter made them realize the importance of such direct contacts.[1]

Is it possible in this life of discipleship that we miss out on moments of direct contact? How often is it that our reality of someone or something is really just a thought, either of our own or of someone else’s? This paradigm leads us to thinking and feeling based on a perceived reality and missing out on what’s really real.

Believe it or not (and thankfully) life is filled with chances and opportunities to “peer through the telescope” and actually see and know that which we are looking for. The joy comes from taking a look for ourselves, and experiencing the wonders of the universe and the wonders of God’s love right before our very eyes.

[1] Victor Weisskopf, The Joy of Insight

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