Parliament returned for just two weeks with an agenda that included subjects which arouse the most passionate and ideological of debates: grammar schools, the future of the BBC, and nuclear power; added to that mix were the statements on Brexit, the G20, the Foreign Affairs select committee report on Libya, and the announcement that David Cameron is leaving the Commons. All on top of the momentous events from mid-June to mid-July.
For those former regime loyalists like myself, still struggling to adjust to the new reality, and realigning ourselves to the metaphysical plain, the news of Cameron’s departure came as another jolt (I was his Parliamentary Private Secretary for seven years). Particularly so, given a widespread perception amongst the ‘commentariat’ that his legacy was being expunged, much in the manner of some disgraced former Soviet Politburo member.
As if to put all these events into a proper perspective, this week the Gaia telescope, a million miles from the Earth in space, reported its findings over the last 14 months by releasing a map of 1.1 billion stars. So vast is the data that the European Space Agency cannot process it all and has asked for the assistance of amateur astronomers and schools. Yet this mind numbing number of stars represents just 1% of our own Milky Way galaxy. Our best estimate is that there are another 100 billion galaxies out there. All hurtling apart (our own galaxy, taking us with it, is going at 1.3 million miles per hour) since the moment of the Creation some 14 billion years ago. These numbers are just too mind bogglingly large to comprehend. Think of it, Just 1 billion minutes ago Jesus was preaching in Galilee.
What can have been in the mind of God when he conceived the Creation of such vastness? Certainly, the very question puts into perspective our priorities and preoccupations, irrespective of how momentous we imagine events to have been over the last few weeks and months.
The data from by Gaia will prompt fascinating studies and speculations. For those of us perplexed by the crowding-in of recent events however, there is I believe only one proper reaction to Gaia’s revelations: it’s that of the Psalmist; “Be still and know that I am God” Ps 46.10