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The Sunsphere

By June 12, 2013August 30th, 2022Lost in Translation

As you know, I was in Knoxville earlier this week and I just happened to stay at the Holiday Inn – World Fair Park downtown. It brought back memories of the 1982 World’s Fair that was held in Knoxville and all the construction that occurred in the area. There are some really interesting buildings that were built as well as a reflecting pond area and a vertical tower called the Sunsphere.

I had forgotten about this structure from the early eighties, but I had dinner in one of the hotel restaurants on Sunday evening and happened to glance out the window. I was struck by the whole idea of the construction. It was a vertical tower with a golden “ball” on top – kind of like the ball that you see on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in New York’s Time Square. Apparently, the gold “ball” is constructed of pieces of glass that actually have 24 karat dust imbedded to give it the right sheen. I thought that it was just a leftover from the Fair, but then someone mentioned that it was open to the public and there were elevators to the top level, some 8 stories or so above the street.

After dinner Monday evening, several of the people in the group I was teaching decided that they would like to travel to the top of the tower to see the view of the Knoxville skyline. So we headed over to the tower and sure enough, the elevator doors opened and we were transported to the observation deck of the Sunsphere. There was a walkway around the perimeter of the deck and you could see all the major landmarks of the city as well as a rather nice view of the area.

Frankly, compared to the Sears Tower in Chicago, it isn’t all that big a deal, but I can understand the dedication to the Sunsphere in the area. People seem really proud of it and it has withstood thirty years and still looks like it’s in pretty good shape. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the theme of the “sun” and how people looked up at it as a monument and testimony to the Fair.

The ancient Egyptians were much the same way. They had more than 3000 gods (notice the small “g”) that they worshipped and their sun god was one of the most powerful gods they had. And while their gods were vitally important to the people of Egypt, compared to the real “God”, the one and only God of the universe, their sun god was insignificant by comparison. In fact, when you read the creation story, you will note that God created the greater light to rule over the day and the lesser light to rule over the night. What this tells us is that God is so powerful that that even the Sun and the Moon aren’t worth naming – they are so insignificant compared to God.

Honestly, these are the thoughts that came to mind when I saw this structure in Knoxville. So rather than ramble on about this, I might as well get to the verse of the evening. From Gen. 1:16, “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.” My encouragement this evening is that God is greater than anything else you can think of or compare Him to. My prayer is that you realize there is none greater than God – anywhere, anytime, any place… So when you worship the one true God, everything else pales in comparison. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace….

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