I was wandering around some of the less frequented halls of UN building here in Vienna and discovered a moon rock. It was sitting in an obscure wing that I’d never before visited, on a pedestal encased in a hefty clear resin pyramid. The rock was about as big as my eleven year old daughter’s fist—Sparkly black with a barnacle-like gray ball of stony colored rock protruding from one side of the darker crystalline matrix. It seemed so ordinary and earthy. Yet there it was, a moon rock collected by James Irwin on the Apollo 15 Mission in 1971 from the edge of the Spur Crater. It’s a Lunar Highland breccia (what a magical name) and is 3,900,000,000 years old. Older than 99.99% of all Earth surface rocks. It may be the oldest thing I’ve ever seen up close. It was born only about 600 million years after Earth’s formation, lo, those 4.5 Billion years ago. I wondered what warranted the clam of extreme age. Something to do with the elements being stuck together in that form for so long I suppose. I mean, when I think of the carbon and oxygen that make up most of my body, they were forged in the great nuclear engines of an earlier generation of stars that lived and died long before the birth of our sun. But this particular configuration of carbon and things, my body, was pulled from the air surrounding our planet fairly recently. Plants used our sun’s energy to take the gaseous carbon floating about and slapped it together into something I, or my mother, likely found delicious and ate. It still amazes me that plants take the air around us and make things like sweet potatoes out of it (see recipes below!). What a cool thing for them to do. But thinking of old things this time of year has invited me to think about a new level of blessings that I should be grateful for. Maybe this Thanksgiving as you thank Heavenly Father for the food, thank Him for the earlier generation of stars that made the elements which would someday form you and those you love. Thank Him for the subsequent generation of stars, including our beloved sun, which power our home world’s verdure, which in turn renders that elemental carbon usable for us. And thank Him for moon rocks that remind us that this universe is old and He took some time in the preparation of this feast. Plus, when you give the Blessing on the food this Thanksgiving and say, “We thank Thee, Dear Lord, for the prior generation of stars that have provided the elements that will bless and strengthen our earthly bodies this day.” I’m sure you’ll get a couple of one-eyed glances for the break in the usual cadences of our grace.
Thank our lucky stars
November 27, 2008 by