During this past week’s episode, Chris suggested that we bloggers were acting a bit like the astronauts who early on realized that perhaps their real mission was not to move out beyond earth, but to turn the camera around and look back at the earth. I like the idea that our quest is not so much to marvel at the wonder that is out there as to get some perspective on the wonder that is right here and be filled with the proper awe.
Eric picked up on the idea that this wondering has a connection to humility, not in the way of getting down on ourselves but by getting high on God. Again, I like the idea that we find the mix of the lowly earth (and earthlings) lifted up by the visitation of the high God. Echoing through the weekly conversations in this series is the challenge from Rumi not to see the drop in the ocean but the ocean in the drop. This whole concept that we are made of star guts (thank you Mary Ann’s daughter 🙂 ) is both exalting and humbling in a Taoist sort of way. There is a balance going on between head and heart as we grapple with these amazing scientific discoveries and the reaction to them. Even when I haven’t been able to keep up with the data the guest scientists have been spewing at high speed, I have enjoyed the enthusiasm they have demonstrated in sharing it.
During the chat this week, it occurred to me that the theological struggle to comprehend how Jesus can be fully human and fully God may find some relief in comprehending how the elements of all on earth is different from the elements in the rest of the universe only in location. Perhaps the full divinity of Jesus rests in his ability to fully realize the divinity that is already present in all that is. When I use my head analytically to add 100% and 100% I get the impossible 200% but when I use my mind in search of wonder as the enthusiastic scientists on this series have done, I marvel at the challenge of finding an explanation for the observable reality of this 200% God/man. Perhaps the Chalcedon definition was the a product of the product of the brightest minds of the fifth century marveling at creation. And the bright minds who have been guests during this series, whether acknowledging it explicitly or not, have shown that they have God within, for that is the etymological meaning of enthusiasm (from the Greek, en+theos).
Speaking of etymology, there is another connection between this star dust and humility. We get the word humble from the Latin humilis meaning literally “on the ground,” from humus, which means earth. We begin this Lenten journey remembering on Ash Wednesday that we come from this humble earth and we will return to it in death. We end the journey on Easter celebrating that the one who is beyond the universe has also come to this humble earth and leads us in the journey of rising beyond death to take our proper place as stardust among the stars. Or as Psalm 8 puts it, a little lower than the angels. As we get high on God and turn the camera back toward the dust from which we came we shouldn’t be surprised when we get a little smudge on the lens. Just like the ash that dusts our foreheads at the beginning of the journey, it is that humility through which we see the greatness of the creation and the creator.