I know most people are inspired and over-awed by images of the Universe but I often try not to think about its frightening vastness.
Like everyone else though, I am moved by those photographs of our own planet taken from space even though I try not to imagine what it must be like up there in a spacecraft surrounded by immeasurable miles of space.
I also try to avoid thinking about the fiery turbulence that seethes beneath our feet under the Earth’s crust. It is so much better to think of human life as calm and settled in a tranquil World where the sky is blue, the ground is green and cathedral spires stretch gracefully upwards demonstrating mankind’s optimism, ingenuity and sense of order.
Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand was just such a place – until yesterday that was.
Now the cathedral is just part of the wreckage that once was a beautiful and tranquil city but in yesterday’s devastating earthquake formerly solid buildings have crashed to the ground killing many people and injuring hundreds more on a day when they were just about the normal routines of life. It is at times like this that I cannot avoid those thoughts about our fragile place in the Universe and then I really do get a sense of awe that mankind survives at all in what is, underneath it all, a hostile environment.
Fearfully, I send my best wishes to all those New Zealanders caught in this disaster.