Our Lord came down from life to suffer death; the Bread came down, to hunger; the Way came down, on the way to weariness; the Fount came down, to thirst.
—Augustine, Sermon 78
There are things about our world, our universe, which are so big that I simply cannot wrap my mind around them, like the idea that when I look into the night sky, I look into eternity. Images from the Webb telescope have captivated me with the majesty of our God’s creation. I know I will never travel to those planets whose suns have provided the light I see when I look into the night sky. Those far-away planets that may have souls living on them who also look up into the night sky contemplating similar thoughts when they see the light from our sun illuminating our planet. Now, there are some who wish to travel to the stars, but I am content to ponder the images and engage my sense of wonder and awe. This universe is so vast and complex that even the most intelligent scientists who spend their entire lives looking into the mysteries within it still cannot explain it all. Yet, how can someone look into the night sky and not believe that the soul is eternal?
Another concept that is hard for me to contemplate is an even greater mystery: our God, the one who created everything we can see and beyond, condescended to become human and then died for our mess-ups just because God wanted to be with us, to be in relationship with us. It is the most incredible love story of all time. It is the basis for all loves stories. It isn’t fiction, and we are all wrapped up in it. Isn’t that astounding? Every church year begins with Advent, then takes us on a journey with Jesus to Easter Sunday and then to Pentecost, ending on Christ the King. We remember this story. We order our church year around it. We soak it into our DNA year after year. It is lovely and comforting and familiar and new all at the same time.
As we begin the New Year already into our church calendar, we contemplate the true mystery of our faith. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” With this in mind, let us be resolute in gratitude to our majestic God who came to us through Christ our Lord and showed us the way, the truth and the light. Amen?!