lost in space, found in eternity

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(NOTE: the two photographs of Niagara Falls are included to illustrate the infinite volume of time and eternity, pouring steadily in a torrent of experience, and new information, and consciousness, and possibility)

The Big Picture

So yesterday evening, walking the dog, I found myself looking deep into the heavens and thinking about the vast scope of everything, considering the place of human beings in the universe – and beyond. I’m sure most curious people do this from time to time.

The sheer enormity of it all is astounding; and the idea that all of this was once compressed into essentially nothing – a minuscule pinprick of unfathomable mass, a single moment – is fundamentally impossible to grasp.

When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them..? – Psalm 8

from the Hubble Telescope
from the Hubble Telescope

It’s all a wonder, irrespective of our fundamental reference point: God, or pure theoretical science? Chance, or design? Purpose, or happenstance? – Regardless of our theological or philosophical framework, there is no disagreement that The Big Picture is a spectacular progression of events.

This good Earth – a tiny grain of sand in a Pacific Ocean of Universe; the existence of humankind – the shortest of measurable eons on the timeline of our ancient planet; the traceable stamp of our DNA – every one of us – back to a common origin somewhere in Africa; the uniqueness of humankind in the vast (and expanding) totality of possibilities; our signal ability to enjoy consciousness and creativity, alone among the species.

I don’t care if you believe in God nor not, there is no denying that the fact of my existence, and yours, is nothing short of a miracle (a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences).

OUR DIFFERENCES

more eternity...
more eternity…

Then – factoring both the immeasurable scope of the Universe, and the tiniest fraction of history represented by the age of humanity, on this spec of dust, orbiting such a small pinprick of light, in the blazing firmament of galaxies – I thought about how profoundly unimportant are the differences we try to highlight between ourselves.

What we have in common is beyond amazing, it’s a love-saturated gift.

What we have in common is beyond amazing, it’s a love-saturated gift.

But then I hear from narrow-minded religious exclusivists who declare that my progressive views regarding the impact of God’s grace effectively consign me to hell for eternity; and then some preachers say God “favors” America over other countries; and other people suggest “we” have more claim to the earth’s resources than “them”…. So I look back up into the inky blackness of both time and space, and I understand that being created in the image of The Maker also means that this planet is inhabited by seven billion other souls who are more or less just like me. And I can’t help but weep at the futility of our struggles against one another…

Oh that we might climb down from our high horses, and simply serve one another! You know, like Jesus did; the one who knelt in the dirt and washed our dusty feet; the one who invites all of us into a fellowship where the common denominator isn’t the acceptance of doctrine but the application of love; the one who died, voluntarily, for everyone, no exceptions; the one who said he’s going to look over the crowd one day, and the only truth that’s going to matter is this, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Look up into eternity tonight – if you remember that you read this post – and think about why on earth God placed us all here together… then read Matthew 25 one more time – DEREK

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2 thoughts on “lost in space, found in eternity

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