God stretched out the northern sky and hung the earth in empty space.
Job 26:7 GNB
Where are you right now, as you read this? Standing still, walking somewhere? On the bus or a train? Maybe lying in bed, or sitting at a desk or table?
As it’s Earth Day today, I’d like to point out that you are also riding a planet.
The Earth is turning on its axis, so depending on how near to the equator you are you could be spinning as fast as 1,000 miles per hour. The Earth is also on its year-long pilgrimage around the sun, travelling at 67,000 miles per hour.
If you’re not dizzy yet, our solar system is also on the move. The sun is one star in the Milky Way galaxy, which is itself rotating. The sun and all its planets, ourselves included, is circling around the centre of the galaxy at 515,000 miles per hour.
You guessed it – the Milky Way is also on the move. As well as spinning, it’s flying through space at 1.3 million miles per hour. At this point we’re into dark matter and the unknown. We don’t yet have an explanation for the unimaginably huge force that calls the galaxies into motion. Astronomers refer to it as ‘The Great Attractor’.
When Job marvelled at how God ‘hung the earth in empty space’, little did he know. Our radio telescopes and satellites and space probes keep piling wonder on top of wonder, as we discover how big and how complicated the universe is.
How should we respond to these facts about our universe?
Here’s my suggestion: lie down flat on the ground. Feel gravity pulling you to the earth like a hug. Thank God for our spinning planet, our mobile home. And hold on tight…