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Prayer, Plain and Simple

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to two Americans and an Israeli for explaining how the DNA code is translated into life. The work of Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz, and Ada E. Yonath, explored ribosomes which produce proteins that control the chemistry in all living organisms. They created three-dimensional models that depict how antibiotics bind to the ribosome, research that has already been significant in developing new anti-infective medicines. The groundwork they have laid has become the basis of much additional research now underway.

Every year the Nobel Assembly in Stockholm awards human achievements in science and the arts. It’s a time to honor great human efforts in discovering secrets of the natural world and in expressing unique visions of the human condition. A Nobel Prize is a way to praise an extraordinary human being.

What strikes me today, however is that scientists who receive these honors win such praise for what they discover, not what they create. Through their cleverness, hard work, and remarkable brilliance, they have asked new questions and devised creative methods to unwrap hidden mysteries in the universe. But their success is detective work, not invention. This year’s award for the explanation of how ribosomes work is notable and certainly deserved. But these scientists discovered wonder that was already there – put there by the Creator!

Our deeper delight today is the surprising and vivid new window this work has created for those of us who want to give honor and glory to God, our Maker. The work of these Nobel laureates is a profound act of worship to the One who thought up the very possibility of “LIFE” and is slowly but eagerly giving us the right and capacity to uncover His secrets. As we honor those who discovered and explained ribosomes, we also pause to praise and honor God the Creator of ribosomes!

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“God, our creator. Thank you for giving Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath the capacity and opportunity to discover more secrets in your mysteries of life. With the rest of the world we bless them for the contribution their work will make in our lives. But more than this, we praise and honor you, our Creator for making life itself, for laying down the fabric of Creation is such a way! We are blessed to be part of that Creation, and a special part that reflects your very image. Part of that image means the capacity to seek and ask and knock to discover the order in the world and through that, a bit of your own genius! God we worship you for your wonderful works. With the ancient Psalmist, we say it again, “We worship you and praise you God for your wonderful works.” Yes, we are wonderfully made, and you are wonderful for making us so, and for giving us the privilege to discover it, and you! In the name of Jesus, our Lord and Maker!”

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