The Really Big Picture

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him” – Colossians 2:810

This fragment of today’s reading from Colossians stood out for me as something to ponder, today. It invites me forward into deeper understanding.

I am still reeling from the first images from the James Webb telescope, and especially the one of that tiny quadrant of space that contains hundreds of galaxies.  The universe just got exponentially larger for me – and I had already thought of it as being pretty large.

Joining a contemplation of God and of Christ with the Webb telescope images is like jumping from a dock into very cold water.  I am completely under water, unable to see, shocked breathless.  For suddenly I see that God is author of billions upon billions of suns and planets, worlds beyond our ability not only to see but even to imagine.  Creation just goes on and on, vast beyond any kind of reckoning.

How can Christ be the embodiment of deity when God is so very, very huge?  What does it mean that within a human-sized being the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily?

As I’ve sat with that question over the past several days, I’ve come up out of the icy depths of my profound shock.  I’ve begun to grasp a human-sized way of approaching the hugeness of creation.  It has to do with the Cosmic Christ.

I imagine Christ to be present in all of creation – in the miniscule bits as well as the big ones – present in every grain of sand, every wind on an alien planet, every ray of distant suns, and every creature anywhere.  Christ is within everything as Christ is within me.  And I can access Christ within me.  I cannot understand him, but I can find him in the spaces of my own heart.  That is where I do come before him.  There, I talk to him, hear his wisdom, and begin to understand his call to me.  

In the language of Colossians, I come to fullness in Christ as I give way in my heart to him.  He is my true center, the true north to which my inner compass always points, the Healer, the Dream Maker.

I have felt a deep joy as I’ve sat with the images from the James Webb telescope.  And those images have led me to others.  Did you know that at NASA.gov, which is where one can learn about all the NASA missions, one can click on a link to the International Space Station?  And did you know that a web cam at that site looks down on our planet in real time as the Space Station orbits around it.  One can see the ocean, the clouds, land masses, the lights of cities at night, and much more.  It’s like looking down from the window of an airplane, only from much higher up.  It is awesome!

In my mind, the philosophy and empty deceit about which Colossians warns us is most prevalent these days in understandings of God and Cosmos that are too small and that don’t allow Christ to speak directly in our hearts.  Whatever our ego perspectives are, they can never fully comprehend the Creator.  They can never totally grasp all that is.  Christ, in whom the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, is our teacher and our guide.  May we enjoy the fullness to which we come in him.

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