My body thinks it is sleeping an extra hour every night. I go to bed at the same time, and I rise at my usual 5:30 a.m. But since we transitioned from Daylight Savings Time, I am clearly more alert and energetic when I get up in the morning. Given the fact that I much prefer Daylight Savings Time (it gives me an extra hour outdoors in the evenings), this is a difficult confession to make. But my body’s internal clock, known by scientists as its circadian rhythm, is somehow tuned to the rising of the sun. It is another one of those remarkable mysteries of creation.
It is reassuring to me to know that the biorhythms of my own body are somehow connected to the rhythm of the earth, the sun, the universe. How this happens is rather mysterious. We know that deep in our brains there is a section called the hypothalamus, which plays a major role in the circadian rhythm. It impacts all sorts of biological processes, including brain wave activity, hormone production, and cell regeneration. But it is also related to, or reacts to, the spinning of the earth and the rhythm of the solar system. And, by the way, some form of circadian rhythm is present in every living thing, including plants, animals, and fungi.
The older I grow the more I marvel at the genius and sublime grandeur of the universe. It is a mystery that cannot be fully explained by either science or scripture. But the message is unambiguous. We are all connected. We are all tethered together at both the cellular level and the universal level. From the rising and falling of the tides to the rising and falling of the moon, there is a rhythm to the universe, and we are intimately connected to it. Even as we move into the deep darkness of my least favorite season, I am choosing to celebrate my conviction that God is still fully engaged in the wondrous miracle we call creation.
Rev. Don Underwood