Expanded Options

Cosmology: Part Two

Expanded Options
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. —1 Corinthians 13:12

Living School faculty member Dr. Barbara Holmes writes about our work for justice as creation “groans” toward fullness:

It is nothing short of a miracle to be situated in a cosmos that keeps its secrets but reveals just enough to keep us intrigued. Each day that dawns is a celebration of the fact that we have been invited to consider how our lives are spent; how we embrace and recoil from the creative genesis of darkness, which is also light; and how we relate to others. One thing is certain: Our conflicts seem insignificant from the perspective of an expanding universe. As we struggle for justice, the universe invites us toward expanded options. We can incorporate the wonder of science in our liturgy and in our politics. We can strengthen and challenge theological precepts with information about the intricacies of a cosmos that defies our inclinations toward control. Finally, we can regard our differences as an intrinsic manifestation of a complex order.

The quantum world is all expectancy and potential, and it includes us whether we know it or not. In such a dynamic life space, we dare not weary of well doing. Although we continue to harm one another with our measurements of worth and assessments of shortcomings, we are peering into a glass darkly. For what we know and what we see are only shadows that cannot reflect the fullness of the cosmos or our place in it. . . .

[This] is a call to broaden our collective vision and to create a more expansive matrix for considerations of our pleasurable and not so pleasurable differences. Neither isolated liberation movements nor sporadic periods of social activism can sustain justice initiatives. Effective efforts to make mutuality and justice integral to the life space must include spiritual and cosmological realities.

For the last few decades, we have glared steadily at issues of race and ethnicity and applied our best solutions, only to watch the issues return in different guises. . . . Our chances of success are better when our efforts are invested with the humility that comes only with an inward and upward glance, for we are carrying our possibilities within the resonance of starborn and interconnected selves.

Our desire for justice is deeply rooted in systems that are holistic and relational. We have not forced, created, or dreamed this shared destiny; it seems to be the way of the universe. Perhaps we will find paths toward mutuality when we consider how our lives are spent within a complex cosmos. However, we will not wrest an egalitarian order from the chaos with swords drawn or in fitful dreams of better times, but with an alertness and commitment to the difficult work of knowing self, others, and the universe as integral parts of a cosmic order that announces its Author, our liberation, and the human potential for transcendence in every star and galaxy.

Reference:
Barbara A. Holmes, Race and the Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently (Trinity Press International: 2002), 172-173.

Image credit: Fish Magic (detail), Paul Klee, 1925, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: To see evolution as revelatory of the divine Word means that we come to see the various forms and rhythms of nature as reflective of divine qualities. —Ilia Delio

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