Posted by: smstrouse | September 21, 2013

Cosmic Wow!

My mind has been on the cosmos. Some might take this as confirmation that my head is always in the clouds. But it’s quite the opposite. In getting ready for Cosmos Sunday (Fourth Sunday in the Season of Creation), I was taken with the statement from the season of creation website*:

“The special focus for this service is not only the cosmos in all its immensity and wonder, but also the spiritual impulse or presence that permeates the universe and is connected with each of us on Earth.”


I love looking at pictures from space like this one. The vastness of the universe is so mind-boggling, so incomprehensible, yet so fascinating. And maybe this vastness is just one of many, part of a multiverse of an infinite number of universes. Like I said: mind-boggling!

In spiritual terms, we sometimes even talk about the universe as the body of God. I happen to think that’s a metaphor which bears much more exploration (Hmm, gives new meaning to “space, the final frontier”). But here’s the part I think we often miss: “connected with each of us on Earth.” The cosmos is not just “out there;” it’s right here.

Joni Mitchell got it right back in 1969*:

We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon . . .
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.  

We are creatures of the Earth, with a responsibility to take care of the garden. Environmentalism is a cosmic issue.

That’s why I was so excited to meet one of our partners at Turk & Lyon, the community center supported by First United Lutheran and St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Churches. Morgan Fitzgibbons, who lists his occupation as Community Organizer/Philosopher, is a leader in the Wigg Party (that’s Wigg, not Whig), a community organization based in SF neighborhoods surrounding the bike route known as the Wiggle.

That’s exciting enough. But this week I learned that he’ll be teaching a course in the Environmental Studies program at the University of San Francisco entitled “Cosmos and Community: Teilhard, Berry, and the Great Work.”

Wow! Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, scientist and spiritual radical AND priest and self-described “Earth scholar” Thomas Berry!  Who better to go soaring with into space and digging in the garden at the same time.

I think Fitzgibbons is on to something with his title. I think we should follow his lead and change the title of Cosmos Sunday to  Cosmos & Community. That way we avoid the perception or the temptation of soaring only out into the wonders space without being down to earth in our communal endeavors to heal the world.

We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden – together. Cosmic, isn’t it?



* Woodstock, Joni Mitchell

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