Dear Inner Circle,
This week it has been hard not to be rendered speechless by the recent images that have returned from thousands of light years away. The images show the vast galaxies, breathtaking cosmic cliffs, the birth place of stars, and my favourite, a couple of “gas giants”. All of these images reveal that we are only a tiny sliver of a vast universe, as we are seeing the equivalent of what is contained in a grain of sand held at arm’s length. The hubris of thinking that earth is the centre of the universe rapidly evaporates in the presence of such vastness.
Our universe has been unfolding, expanding and diversifying for well over 13 billion years, and if we marked that on the spectrum of what we’d experience as a year, then our planet will have been birthed somewhere around September, and we’d only show up somewhere close to midnight on December 31st. Surely any notion then that we are the centre of the universe also fades in this light. Yet this should not be a cause for despair, but rather a cause for a radical humility. One that connects us back into the rich soil of being but a link in the great chain of being. An invitation to not see life as insignificant, but rather to see it as a deep privilege to participate in.
The images have much to teach us. Amongst the lessons is that through the cycles of birth, life, death and re-birth, these processes unfold and are in no rush. One of our values is “No Rush”, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have deadlines and priorities that need urgent attention, but rather reminds us to move at the pace that each precious life allows. It reminds us that no one can make people change. Even if we could, we’d be guilty of manipulation of some kind. Instead, like the telescope that has shown us the images, we wait patiently, always on the lookout for sparks of life, signs that people long for better, and we look to engage and help them move to better days and better health.
Over our family holiday it was a delight to share a meal with a friend whose life truly bears truth out. From jail to now, a life with a young family, he works hard to provide for his family, both financially and emotionally. As we stood up to leave, he placed his thick and heavily tattooed hand gently over mine, “This dinner is my gift to you, please….let me do this.” His gentle, love-filled smile filled me with as much awe as any image from a telescope has seen this week.
It is good to be back, I’ve missed you, thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,
Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor