Tomorrow could be it... the end of all we know... so say the doomsayers about the first proper run of the extraordinary science experiment taking place at CERN in the new Large Hadron Collider. One of the things that may be created are tiny black holes. Some are worried that these infinitesimal black holes will suck up all the matter around them (that is what black holes do, not even light can escape from their gravitational pull) and thus, "pop" or better "slurp", there goes the earth... (There's more...)
Before you max out your credit card, that is not going to happen! (And if it does, there'll be no-one to read this and contradict me!)
If there is one consistent throughout all of history there are always people ready to tell you the end of the world is nigh. However, this experiment seems to have caught the imagination of many in a way that a sandwich-board wearing preacher on a street corner is unlikely to manage. I heard this week that in Calderside Academy and other schools there is a buzz going around the students about what the experiments at CERN may mean. Will it be the end of the world? Or will it spawn off new tiny universes? If so, would dinosaurs live there that we could take as pets?
The fascination with the threat of impending doom is one that Jesus seems to deny. In the face of the existential threats that the people of Palestine faced from the Romans as Jesus taught and preached among them Jesus is clear that they are to be thinking with a bigger outlook, to see the bigger picture. For the particle physicists that is what the Large Hadron Collider does: though a study of the infinitesimal building blocks of nature they can understand better the whole big picture of the universe.
Through Jesus' interaction with others, his teaching for specific situations and people, his healing, we are able to see in the small things the big picture of God's love. Ultimately the big picture was shown clearly at the time of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Nonetheless, in the small things we get a taste of how we too can join in God's mission not to fear-monger that the end of the world is nigh, but rather to be love-spreaders and show why life is precious today.