Those of you reading The Organic God and going through the study know that the book begins with a scene of seeing bioluminescence in the waters off the shores of Alaska. The sight of these mysterious sparkles creates a sense of childlike wonder in almost everyone who sees them for the first time.
I was first introduced to bioluminescence as a girl-one night my mom swept her hand through the waters off the coast of Florida and said, “Look!” The sea illuminated with a mysterious glow that captured my imagination.
The magical light of bioluminescence is understood by scientists as a, “a process in which marine organisms produce light as a result of a chemical reaction involving the oxidation of a substrate molecule luciferin by a catalyst luciferase; the energy is released as sparkling blue-green light.” (The Organic God, page 8).
Don’t worry. I’m not smart enough to write that sentence on my own.
Here’s a little secret. In the process of writing, I know that I’m bound to make a billion mistakes-thoughts, ideas, word choice, punctuation, all line themselves up for a countless potential mistakes. So when I have the opportunity to get something right, I go after it. In fact, that little sentence from page 8 of The Organic God took me weeks to track down. I found a scientist named Dr. Michael Latz of the Scripps Institute via the Internet to help make sure those string of big words were accurate. We exchanged several emails to ensure the wording was clear, beautiful, and scientifically accurate.
After the book released, I was part of a pastor’s gathering in San Diego, California. One afternoon, I borrowed a rental car and drove down to La Jolla to see the beach. I began walking, drinking in the sea and surf and sand and sun. Nearing the end of the beach, I looked up and read a sign that said, “Scripps Institute.”
I remembered the email exchange regarding bioluminescence. It couldn’t be.
I wandered through an open door and found a nameplate. Michael Latz.
I tracked down his office, knocked on his door, and introduced myself. He remembered our email exchange and he graciously spent the next hour giving me a tour of his lab and all these glass containers filled with mysterious creatures. He’d turn off the lights, shake a glass beaker ever so gently, and say, “Look at this one!” The oohs and aahs came naturally.
Sometimes I think God does that. He reaches down into our world and shakes thing up. He allows life to swirl and twirl so that we might illuminate in ways we didn’t think possible.
When Jesus says, “You are the light of the world“, some people like to think about spotlights and high beams. I prefer to think about bioluminescence.
What have you encountered in creation that stirs your heart to know God more?
I recently watched a TED presentation by Edith Widder on “The Weird, Wonderful World of Bioluminescence.” You might enjoy it. Watch the presentation, here.
Curious Expeditions offers some amazing photos and descriptions: Click here.
Backpacker.com offers 3 Glow-in-the-dark Trips for those who want to embark on a brilliant adventure. Check them out, here.
*Photo courtesy of here