During the few weeks that Rev. Cameron has been away a few of our menbers have written in reflections for this space. Here is the third by Pam Tattersfield.

Comet NEOWISE A Vision of the Holy?

I love celestial phenomena: eclipses of all types, full moons, meteors, even satellites passing over like clockwork, but comets are my favourites. I am not sure why, but more than the others, comets take me to those “thin places” described by Richard Rohr where we humans may come close to experiencing God.

Astronomy seems to be a fairly precise science with phenomena explained by the laws of physics once links to them are understood, and when we develop the technology to see them. The NEOWISE comet currently near us is named with an acronym for the NASA space telescope

that allowed us to “discover” it this past March. While fascinating that astronomy allows us to know its size, speed, orbit, and age, it is the beauty and mystery of watching a comet that draws me.

Every clear night at 10:30 for a little longer I wait for the dark in eager anticipation. To the naked eye NEOWISE is a delicate trail in the northern sky hanging there, apparently static below the Big Dipper, visible to us locally since July 10. Yet the view through binoculars or telescope shows a white orb with glowing tail shooting away at incomprehensible speed. How can it hang in the sky so long 3 weeks for this one, 18 months for Hale-Bopp when seeing its flight makes it easy to believe that it won’t be back for thousands of years?

This apparent dichotomy may be explained by theories and calculations from celestial observations. Yet it is the ephemeral nature such visions, along with their beauty and complexity, that moves me. I am awed by the mystery, filled with love and gratitude at being located by Grace to see it, if only dimly for a short time.

And for this I give prayers of thanks to God!

Pam Tattersfield