October 31, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11.6)
If we trust only what our eyes see, then we would surely limit what is seen and more so what we know. Take a look at the night time sky. What do you see? There are stars, planets, comets, satellites, meteorites, constellations, clouds, aircraft, birds and the background. If it were not for the background then everything we see might well blend into each other as distinct only by movement. What we see move is in comparison to what we do not see moving. The truth is that the universe we see, and we are a part of that universe, is constantly in motion. Objects react and interact and respond to other objects. Of course, there are things we do not see but trust in as well such as gravity. We do not see gravity or the wind, for example, but we have learned of their existence based upon their effect on the objects we see. What effect does the background of the universe we see have on us or anything else?
With the introduction of the James Webb Space Telescope, it is said we possess the greatest potential to see light that has travelled the greatest distance from its source. Objects we have seen with telescopes of the past which have had greater and greater power to observe over time now are seen with even greater clarity and definition. But, what is the hope of seeing that “first” light? What will we really see and what will it really translate into as far as knowledge and moreover as wisdom? Will we be like Yuri Gagarin, the first Russian cosmonaut, who declared upon his return from outer space, “I did not see God”? Are we in hope of finding the combustible spark which ignited the “Big Bang” and believe we have “seen it all”? Are we looking for the hand of God who flipped the switch or struck the match or pushed the button and began all that we see now so that we can say “I don’t see it, didn’t see and won’t see it” when it isn’t there? How do we know it isn’t there? Is the beginning of the creation of all things any different from gravity? Remember, we can’t “see” gravity but we can “see” gravity’s effect and the effect of where gravity is not. Can we frame our conversation about understanding God in a similar fashion?
And what about this “background”? When, and if, we see that “first spark,” which began the process of bringing life and light out of darkness, is it a place in time and space that is “against the wall” or is it in the middle of a vastness we still cannot figuratively and literally put our hands and mind around? Is it like the backdrop of a theatrical set which frames our viewing reference to everything in front of it? Would what is “behind the scene” be too distracting if we saw it. Would it be so much so that we could not focus on what was happening on stage? And are we aware of the theatre term “fourth wall.” It is the back of the theatre inclusive of the side walls of the theatre, including theatre in the round, which frames the audience as an active participant, and a valued one, in the production on stage. This is what Shakespeare was alluding to when he wrote, “The whole world is a stage and we are merely players on it.” The more we feel engaged by what is on stage the better our perception of the production. So, what if the background of the universe is actually a cosmological fourth wall? It defines for us what is happening in “our” world bounded by what is happening everywhere even if we cannot see it. But, we believe it is there and it exists and it is real and it is true. Of course, what is true is now based only on what we see and that there are things happening which we cannot see but know are “out there.” Yes, it is okay for the sound track of “X Files” to begin playing and the caption appear before our eyes which says “The truth is out there.” The truth is, however, also in here. Because from “out there” we are a part of the background. From a distance we would not be seen with the naked and unaided eye. Our globe would fade into black as if the curtain had dropped and the production was completed. We know it hasn’t but they, whoever they might be, do not because they cannot see us, hear us or perceive us. Unless, of course, they come across those random satellites which were launched into deep space to go where no human has gone before. Are we the only ones who exist in all the cosmos? Are we the first ones to exist in the cosmos? Are we figments of our own imagination? Are we merely players on a bigger stage or just another reaction to some “flick of the switch” beginning. Don’t you think that someone might have to say “lights, camera, action”?
We have to have faith in faith. We have to believe in the something we have a difficult time believing in. We have to make it our purpose and life proposal that faith is an indispensable truth we must believe in. We know that everything happens for a reason even if we cannot immediately, or ever, determine what that reason is. And then, there is God. And the reason for it all is the very nature and character of God which is love. And our sincerest desire is first “love and be loved” even though we are unsure of what is the genesis, foundation and premise of one who loves. That pursuit which is so much a part of who we are as a person and a people is predicated on the very truth that we cannot “see” love but we innately know love is there. We yearn for it. We imagine it. We “feel” it even when it doesn’t seem to be present. Even its absence to our senses pulls on our very power to think, contemplate and comprehend. Carl Sagan declared, “If life is only on this planet then what a terrible waste of space.” I don’t know about that. I tend to think, though not to eliminate the possibility of life somewhere out there, that all we see and don’t see is such an elaborate gift and feast for our senses given by a God who loves us so much. And while we can expand our awareness of Him out there, there is even a greater offering of love in the gift of His Son, Jesus, meant to exist “in here.” We cannot see Him now. No one born after Passover 29 A.D. ever “saw” Jesus. Yet, by the power of the background of the gospel premised by the Law and the Prophets, we see the awesome effect and impact of this One whose life in the Heavens changed forever the production on this stage called earth. Jesus had faith. We, mighty ones, are called to have faith in that faith and hold its truth to be self-evident.
You are true love, God, and You have loved us faithfully, truthfully, elaborately, simply and eternally. We know that nothing can or will ever separate us from the reality and purpose of Your love. We seek it out. We determine for ourselves to be seekers of love, to love and to be loved so that life can be known to its fullest measure which is defined by Jesus, Your Son and our Christ. We pray “love be our aim” in Jesus’ name. AMEN.