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Speaking to the Soul: A Cosmic Christ

Speaking to the Soul: A Cosmic Christ

Colossians 2:2-10

Once, in an evening discussion with my campus ministry group, we got to talking about aliens – extraterrestrial beings.  Someone mentioned that they had heard that Steven Hawking, the brilliant physicist, had been against sending satellite probes into space on the grounds that anyone we came in contact with “out there” was highly likely to be dangerous to us.  Better not to let them follow us home.

It occurred to me then that, as Christians, we could envision something much more positive.  If God is truly God of the entire Cosmos, wouldn’t it stand to reason that God would partner with any intelligent life form in the same way in which God partners with us?  Let’s assume that God loves all God’s creation.  Wouldn’t God long to be in relationship with any being intelligent enough to respond?

Let’s assume the people traveling the stars have evolved not only technologically but also spiritually.  Let’s assume that xenophobia has died in them as they have grown in knowledge and love of God.  Is it too unreasonable, then, to imagine looking into the eyes of the totally Other and seeing a being equally loved by God as we are and willing to meet us as fellow creatures of a deity deeply invested in our welfare?

All of my group was daunted by that vision.  It would certainly change our collective understanding of our place in the Universe – maybe as much as or more than the realization that the earth circles the sun.  What if humankind is not the only species made in the image and likeness of God?  What if we are not the only people with whom God communicates directly?  Perhaps there have been other incarnations of God on other planets – other showings forth of what it means to be loved by the Author of the Universe.

This may seem to you like unproductive wool gathering.  Why am I sharing it as a reflection on Colossians?  Let me just say that if I were better at writing science fiction, I would definitely write that story.  In science fiction we find the contemporary myths that nourish our souls.  Look at Star Wars, how it has captured the imagination of generations of people.

The author of the letter to the Colossians says:  “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”  I can imagine seeing Christ, rooted and built up, when I look into  the eyes of fellow practicing Christians.  Can I imagine seeing Christ, rooted and built up, when I look into alien eyes?

Eerily, this question taps my own xenophobia.  It makes me wonder who I have been excluding as I have thought about belonging to God.  If the entire Universe belongs to God, then God speaks in all spiritual languages.  What treasure does God hold out for the person of a different faith tradition?

Thomas Merton, whose life we celebrate today, was brave enough to embrace, from his strict monastic Catholicism, the faith traditions of the Far East.  He compared the mystical practices of these traditions with his own, and he made his practices accessible to lay people looking for a spiritual discipline.  He was willing to find how God speaks to the Other without losing how God spoke to him.

Our treasure is our relationship with Christ.  Our calling is to live our lives in him.  Hopefully this makes us more open, more willing to meet and get to know the stranger, and more able to see similarities between how God speaks to that person and how God speaks to us.  Perhaps in this mysterious Cosmos that belongs to God we are all siblings.  Perhaps there is no one in the entire Universe that we have to fear except those who limit themselves by their own fearful outlook.  And would they really be out there traveling the stars?

 


 

Laurie Gudim is a writer and religious iconographer who lives in Fort Collins, CO.  You can view some of her work at Everyday Mysteries.

 

Image: The Coming of the Cosmic Christ by Matthew Fox

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Philip B. Spivey

A cosmos-filled God makes perfect sense to me. But, I don't think God stops with sentient beings; God embraces all of creation, organic and inorganic, and He gives each its due. We humans are His recent project: We are also the noisiest and the most willful of His creations. He doesn't know quite what to do with us; perhaps we're unfinished or perhaps, he has more faith in our potential than we do.

With all due respect to Professor Hawking, given our track record, I think extraterrestrials have lots more to fear from us, than we from them. Just look at how we treat one another here on planet Earth.

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Leslie Marshall

I think God is concerned with his relationship with humans, in terms of who is eligible for Salvation. ...but certainly he made many other beings; Satan and his followers of Demon Spirits that are a powerful enemy of God, Angels that speak for God, Seraphim which are witnesses to God's glory, Cherubim which guard God's Holy domain, and also, Creatures which are 'like living creatures', whose job it is to continually praise God.

I think that any aliens would probably fall into the 'other than human' category. The reason I say this, God sent Jesus in human form...(not as an angel or as a Cherubim) to show his love and concern for humans.

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JC Fisher

"in human form"

To me, that means sentience: intelligence plus self-awareness (and may also include, Wiki helpfully suggests: desire, will, consciousness, ethics, personality, insight, humor, ambition "and many other human [!] qualities").

The "form" these sentient qualities take, in a physical body morphology sense, is much less important.

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Laurie Gudim

Yes, I agree. Good things for us to ponder.

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Ross Warnell

One thing I am absolutely certain of is that other sentient beings in the universe will not be beyond the everlasting love of God or the need to incarnate that love to one another.

Ross Warnell - Kansas City, Kansas

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Laurie Gudim

Yes. It's a joyous speculation.

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Tammy

Good one!

Please follow the comment policy of posting with both your first & last names. - ed

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Laurie Gudim

Thanks, Tammy!

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Alan Herendich

The image on this meditation is an icon written by Br Robert Lentz Entitled "Holy Wisdom." The artist's narrative on this icon can be found here: https://www.trinitystores.com/store/art-image/holy-wisdom-0

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Ann Fontaine

Thanks-- I took it from the Matthew Fox book cover. More information is helpful.

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Alan Herendich

I find that Br Robert Lentz's icons often speak to me. He looks at familiar figures from a slightly different angle and provides another window to the sacred. Thank you for your efforts with the Café. It's reincarnation has been great!

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