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Pilgrim Making Guide To The Galaxy



Above my desk is a 2020 calendar with views of space from the Hubble telescope. In March, the picture was of the largest star forming cluster in what the text calls ‘our neighbourhood’. If you can call twenty-five galaxies a locality. The 30 Doradus Nebula cluster contains several dozen stars each about one hundred times the mass of our Sun and about ten times as hot.


Space freaks some people out, it’s so large – 93 billion light years large, at latest estimates. But it is awe inducing for anyone prepared to look. If this universe did not happen by chance, and is an act of creation, then we can infer one thing. God is very, very, very big. And the universe makes us feel very, very small.


And yet.


This same God gave us his Son to put right all we have undone of his creation. The maker of the Doradus Nebula has numbered the hairs of our head and calls us to cast all our fears on him; the dread that consumes so many in the first months of this new decade - and to trust in his endless mercy.


The Canadian author, Douglas Coupland, famous for his zeitgeist forming novel Generation X, has said his great fear is that God exists but that he’s actually nasty and brutal. But in Christ, God has loved us with an everlasting love. Jesus’ death and resurrection confirm this, and offer hope of a new world to come.


We often think of the death of Jesus on the cross as something only personal to us, but it heralds the re-creation of all things. In the Bible’s letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul says:


The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.


The world around us, in all its beauty and complexity, is not some kind of stage prop that can be carted off at the end of the play. It is intimately connected to who we are. A part of our future.


Sometimes critics allege that the Church has historically cared little for the environment because deep down it thinks land and sea will all be swept away one day. But the opposite is true. We have been given creation to cherish, not to trash. Every step we take to nurture its life is an act of worship, and a small signpost of the biggest planned redevelopment in history, when God in Christ shall make all things new.



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© 2020 Simon Burton-Jones All Rights Reserved