Atmosphere: More than Just the Weather.

polar mesospheric clouds
Photo credit: <a href="http://earth.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/efs//lores.pl?PHOTO=ISS022-E-52281">Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA</a>

Genesis 1:6-8

Then God said, “Atmosphere!”

And a thin shell separated the vast reaches of the sea from the vast reaches of space. It was the sky. And so continued evening and morning. Day 2.

Any earth scientist will tell you that the atmosphere is amazingly thin. If the earth were scaled down to the size of an egg, its atmosphere would be thinner than an eggshell. Way thinner.

And yet, from our vantage beneath it, the sky seems immeasurably huge. The ancients (of many cultures) called it a great dome. And it’s within a very small border on the inside of this sheer membrane that separates us from the vast reaches of space that all human activity takes place. It is simultaneously immense and miniscule. It is, in a word: liminal.

liminal adjective.
1. of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

Boundaries and thresholds are where creation comes alive. It’s at the thresholds where life is lived most richly, and where potential is at its greatest. The ancient Celts called attention to the “thin places,” by which they meant both spatial and spiritual places where one’s eyes could be opened.

As we begin the second week of the new year, perhaps we will be helped and our eyes opened to new possibilities if will pause now and then to pay attention to the atmosphere.