Staring into space on a clear night with a bright moon and many stars, I began thinking about little Earth our big Universe.
It all started 13.8 billion years ago. God, whom we call CREATOR, made the decision to bring about space-time in a dimensionless point containing immeasurable mass-energy causing the Big Bang, first proposed in 1931 by the Belgian priest, physicist, and professor at the University of Leuven, Georges Lemaître (1894 – 1966).
The Big Bang was a big birth. It was when all matter, energy, time, and space began. It started at a single point and evolved into the expanding Universe that people today investigate with particle accelerators, microscopes, and telescopes. And some with wondering eyes, standing in the backyard on a cool but clear spring night.
CREATOR’S Universe is still in evolution. The size of the observable Universe is approximately 93 billion lightyears in diameter at the present day. Astronomers suggest there may be 2 trillion galaxies in the observable Universe. The distance covered in one lightyear is 5.88 trillion miles. Our Earth is so tiny in comparison.
Our Christian tradition holds that God is CREATOR and sustains everything. We stand awestruck. CREATOR is beyond our imagination. The prologue to John’s Gospel reminds us: “In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.” At the same time God, CREATOR, is personal and continually interacting with an evolving Universe and of course with an evolving humanity.
Reality is breath-taking if we remain alert, keeping eyes, minds, and hearts open. Sometimes I think people surrender to a kind of lazy theology. They give up really thinking about God and our experiences of divinity today. Lazy theology just repeats what theologians of the past have said, without giving it much thought.
In fact, in an active theology, there is an inseparable connection between theology, spirituality, and contemporary experience. It anchored in contemplative consciousness about the life-giving presence of CREATOR.
We stand today at a new threshold in human history. Certainly the shock and horror of terrorism and war continue to haunt us — such clear signs of the alienation and hatred that have too often characterized human history. Nevertheless, at the same time there are also reflections of the best in human nature, as people around the world continue to hold a vision of peace and justice and demonstrate the love and heroism that reflect a greater humanity. Perspective is important.
The epic of our evolving Universe, so often retold by scientists, theologians, and philosophers, is a still-developing story. No matter how it is described or what theories are proposed about it, evolution is a fact of life. The Universe continues to expand and evolve.
Humankind evolves as well. But it also operates at a level involving choice and conscious relationships with CREATOR and neighbors. Since the Big Bang, there have been three phases of evolution: material, biological, and transcendent. Now is the time to focus on the transcendent.
Transcendent knowing involves a recognition that we are essentially one with CREATOR and the evolving Universe. Staring into space a few days ago I had this strong feeling that now is the time to really ponder the transcendent. For many people, spirituality and the inner life are coming into focus more clearly. Spirituality is what brings about an inner change in a human being. Spirituality is not just talking about CREATOR but experiencing CREATOR. To do this we go from our heads to our hearts.
The cultivation of transcendent awareness creates a broader life perspective through which we can more wisely embrace new challenges and opportunities. Material for meditation…
Like his great Hebrew predecessors, Jesus spoke CREATOR’S message to a world in danger of going spiritually blind and deaf.
Life’s deepest meaning, Jesus claimed, is discovered in relationship to CREATOR and in the establishment of a just and caring society. The teachings of Jesus are dominated by his witness to CREATOR’S love for humankind and our need to let that love flow through us to others, even – difficult as it may be — to those who attack and torment us.
Yes, with wondering eyes staring into a clear and star-filled sky a few nights ago, I thought about many things. Older people do that.
I thought, for instance, about Yuri Gagarin (1934 – 1968) the Soviet pilot and cosmonaut who became the first human to journey into outer space on April 12, 1961. I remember his reportedly saying: “I went up to space, but I didn’t encounter God.” I was eighteen years old at the time and said: this guy’s religious understanding is short-sighted.Today I would say: he needed not only better education but spiritual direction.
And…I also thought about Vincent Van Gogh’s “Stary Night” and Psalm 19: “The heavens proclaim the glory of Creator. The skies display Creator’s craftsmanship.”
CREATOR travels with us in our human journeys, even when cruel human events cloud our vision.