I passed a chap in a hi-viz jacket earlier today, who was using a device mounted on a tripod to make some sort of measurement. I believe the device was a theodolite – and this made me think about what it was he might have been measuring.
I am no classicist, but I’m pretty sure that English words beginning with the letters T-H-E-O come to us from the Greek theos, meaning god. Sadly, my limited Greek does not reveal the meaning of the “-dolite” portion of the word, but presume this must relate to surveying in some way.
As a result, I was forced to assume that the man was surveying the heavens. I’m not sure what aspect of a god or gods he was trying to measure: how does one measure omniscience in any case? And why try this at the start of the guided busway? Whilst sharing a prefix with many of the powers traditionally linked to the divine, I don’t think that the omnibus is commonly associated with the Lord; and while he is reported as saying “I am the way” (by some journo by the name of John), I really don’t think this was in reference to a slightly faster, traffic-free route between Cambridge Station and the Trumpington Park and Ride (if it was, then snaps to Cambridge City Council for gaining some very early and widely distributed advertising).
Despite these niggles, it was good to see some practical theology in action.