Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Forever and Ever (the Morning Star, continued)

Christ the Morning Star
(Illuminated Easter Proclamation,
The Liturgical Press 20012
The Morning Star (also known as the planet Venus) continues its transit of the sun as I write. Against the enormous disk of the sun, it is a tiny black dot moving imperceptibly if inexorably "east" (assuming that we've flattened out the sun and stopped its motion!) There won't be another transit of Venus for another 113 years, then another one eight years later.

I liked what a commentator I was listening to last night on my drive home had to say about this. (Unfortunately, I didn't catch his name).   He noted that no-one listening to him would be in existance (his phrase, not mine) the next time Venus crossed in front of the sun. An entirely new generation (think back to the last transit at the end of the 1880's) would be on hand, but none of us.

He thought that the transit of Venus an inspired occasion to reflect on the brief time horizons that is inevitable for human beings -- its almost impossible for us to think more than a few years forward in time.

In the perspective of faith, as Christians we hold both the brevity of life and the infinite expanse of eternity in tension. That is, while with everybody else, believers struggle (as the NPR commentator noted) to think farther ahead than the next dentist appointment, as Christians we are constantly reminded that we exist (and will continue to exist), in an unimaginably vast horizon of time -- in God's time, which is beyond our ability to comprehend. (God being eternal and beyond time and past, present or future).  It's within this context that believers observe with wonder and awe the marvels of cosmos, including the journey of our tiny neighboring planet past the enormous expanse of the sun.

Its no accident, I think, that in our tradition, East and West,  all of our liturgical prayers conclude with some version of this doxology: "Through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you (the Father) and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.

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