Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Invisible Revealed

The school week resumed and I thought wistfully of the peaceful and calm paced joy of paddling on a little lake with no thoughts more daunting than whether to push a little harder with the left stroke to follow the curve of the shoreline.

  However, the school day began despite me. Dear friend Andi called and offered us some luscious food that was filling her overfull refridgerator. One was some vegetable melange, which meant one less thing I would need to think about before dinner, so I gratefully collected the dish and returned to the problem at hand.

Some homeschool teachers like to be prepared and have the materials prepared and available as needed. I sometimes keep things a little more spontaneous, and we discovered as we pulled out the pond water in which Asherel had been growing microbes per the Biology text instructions, that we would need a microscope.  We had some cute little hand held gadgets that Grandpa had sent long ago, but the microbes were either not there, or very fast and very small, and we were unable to keep the hand held microscope still enough.

"Are we sure they are there?" asked Asherel, "Cause I don't see anything."

"Of course they are there. Can't you smell this water? Microbes are proliferating at an alarming rate."

"Why do we need to see them?" she asked, "Can't we just look at a picture of them?"

"Because of knowledge for knowledge sake," I answered. She looked blank.

"OK, try this then, because you never know when some little piece of experience tucked away in the back of your mind will make a difference and be just what you need at just the right time."

She remained skeptical, but to her credit, did not laugh.

"OK, because they are cute. You haven't lived til you have seen an amoeba swimming around right next to a paramecium."

"Well," she said finally, "There is that old computer microscope."

Grandpa had sent that one too, but it was made ten years ago and used an old operating system. We downloaded the software anyway, which in and of itself is as miraculous as paramecium. I found the software on line and figured out how to get it on my computer. We attached the old microscope and for a few brief seconds it would work, and then we would get a window on our screen that said, "The computer is having trouble communicating with the device. Please restart your computer."

 After wasting an hour trying to get the microscope to function, we had to admit defeat.
"Just go look at pictures of bacteria for now," I said, and I heated the vegetable melange Andi had sent over, along with meat I'd been cooking in the crock pot.

Well, I tasted the vegetable melange and before I knew what was happening, I was shoveling it in my mouth in at least as alarming a rate as our bacteria were proliferating in our pond scum.  When I opened my eyes, half the melange, and it had been a good bit, was gone.

"Where did the vegetable melange go?" I asked.
It had mysteriously vanished, just like the elusive protococcus, diatoms, and euglena in Asherel's slides.
"It is a good thing I can't cook like this," I said as I waddled to the sink to rinse my plate,"Or I'd be one of those people that have to be fork lifted out of their room."

"What will we do about the microscope?" asked Asherel, "I am supposed to make more slides with the pond water in two days."
"God will provide. Surely He who made the streptococcus can make the means for us to view it. Him, or Craig's List, or maybe Ebay."

So with my belly full of vegetable melange, our slides full of bacterium waiting to be viewed, and a heart full of faith, we are on the prowl for a microscope. The invisible will be made clear, and as quickly as the vegetable melange had vanished, the mystery of microscopic life will burst into view.  The connection is not as tenuous as you might think.  I had needed a vegetable for dinner, and Andi had out of the blue called and offered a vegetable fit for a king.  It was the invisible made visible- the invisible quality of generosity made visible in a dish of vegetables offered to a friend. 

God seems to work in the realm of invisibility. But then, every so often, He powers up a cosmic microscope and the invisible is revealed- the generosity of a friend, Mercy and Justice merged in an atoning sacrifice of our Savior.... bacteria swimming in pond scum. It is all there, waiting for us to find it.  And if you have an extra microscope you want to sell, can you give me a call?

Colossians 1:14-16 (New International Version)

14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

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