“Most of the time we can forget the universe, frankly,” said Stephen Baxter, president of the British Science Fiction Association and the author of books like Space and Last and First Contacts. “But today, there was ‘a crack in the sky and a hand reaching down,’ to quote David Bowie. It reminds us of our true location, so to speak.”
This comes from a New York Times article by John Williams about last week’s meteor explosion over Russia. Referring to the 1908 Tungusta Event in which a passing asteroid flattened a large area of Siberia, fiction writer Tom Bissell was also quoted as saying, “Can you imagine that happening above a major metropolitan area? It would either fill the churches or empty the churches.”
Most of us live in our own little worlds, living and moving and having our being as if not surrounded by and immersed in an ocean, not just of stars, but of galaxies. Earth is the proverbial grain of sand in multiple quadzillions of miles of a metaphorical cosmic shoreline. And, if the universe is infinite, probability theorists tell us there is another planet not just with life, but specifically with you, [insert your name], and me. The late television series Fringe was not so “fringey” after all.
Location, location, location! The mantra of real estate agents should be our own to gain perspective on our own pet peeves, Washington dysfunction, and Middle East tensions, to name a few examples. Repeatedly the Psalmist got this, as did the writer of Job and the Hebrew prophets, including Jesus. We sometimes get it too when observing the beauty of a clear night sky, enduring suffering or suffering catastrophes, falling in love or giving birth—all opportunities for Bowie’s “crack in the sky” through which we may reach for the hand of God.
When religion no longer opens the sky for us, it is no longer useful in the spiritual quest. Then science or poetry or nature or art or life events may step in to save us from closed hearts, closed minds, and closed church doors.
Copyright © 2013 by Chris R. Glaser. All rights reserved. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. Suggested uses: personal reflection, contemporary readings in worship, conversation starters in classes.
New weekly feature! Last week’s “top ten” most visited posts inspired me to highlight two previous posts each week that you may have missed. Click on each title to read: