The Chronicles of Kiwi, Part 4
David Meets Darwin
Today we learned about glow worms. Now you will as well! We visited the famous Waitomo Glow Worm Caves of New Zealand. These caves play host to the lovely blue critters that live out their brief but brilliant lives attached to the cavernous ceilings below ground. An overly informative yet affable young lad directed our tour.
The Waitomo Caves are known for their population of Arachnocampa luminosa, a glowworm species found only in New Zealand. There are only nine known glow worm types in the world and they are exclusive to Australia and New Zealand. As we entered the cave and our eyes began adjusting, we could see the little critters everywhere – like thousands of sparkling, sapphire stars on a moonless night. It was mesmerizing. It was enchanting. I breathed deeply the cool, moist air of the caves like a right little Gimli dwarf of Hobbit fame.
I thought to myself: “Ah Lord, let this moment endure for just a bit…Allow me to form some beautiful meditative thoughts about the glories of your good creation that I can put into words. Let me stand in awe of these marvelous manifestations of glory.”
“What you’re looking at right there is the glow worm’s butt.” interjected our tour guide. “They used to believe it was the worms poop that glowed, but they discovered it was his butt.”
Thank-you Mr. Science.
The buzz-kill continued. “The silken strings you see that are flowing down from the glow worms – well, that there is mucous. They use their mucous to catch insects.”
He followed this with one of the most unnecessary commands I‘ve ever heard: “Please don’t touch the mucous.”
In the space of a few seconds I’d moved from the Book of Psalms to the Origin of Species – from David to Darwin, from sapphire and silk to butts and mucous. Here was the epic battle between science and faith writ large by the small speck of a glow worm’s shiny heinie.
I’m one who believes that the divide between science and faith are overrated and overwrought. True scientists are humbled and become poets when confronted with the deep mysteries of the universe. True theologians welcome the “how-to” of it all, comfortable that advanced knowledge of creation in no way diminishes the Creator.
When describing the face of a beloved, we don’t speak of the outermost layer of skin that provides a waterproof barrier and creates skin tone, otherwise known as the epidermis. No, we speak of how that face strikes our eyes or feels to our touch as we trace its contours. A dermatologist can tells us the science about the face – a very necessary and respectable profession. My job as a preacher/poet is to describe that face in a such a way that dignifies and celebrates the uniqueness of that soul as first imagined in heaven. Each are important, the latter I think more so.