Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ginormous: so big you can't go round it

Seldom do I open email or news before loosing the magic fingers to start their mad dance of nonsense -- but sometimes there's an eerie feeling that something happened on the other side of this big world as I slept. Nome sane? I didn't have that feeling this all too early a morning even for a Sunday, but I opened News anyway and sure enough, nothing had happened. Or if it had I didn't see it, because the headline was still yesterday's news about the Americans who helped stop a terrorist on the train in France, which I read yesterday. And anyway I only scrolled down as far as the headline from HuffPost about Sagittarius 5, the ginormous black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. 

It has been so long since I was current on the latest news about the cosmos that I didn't know about the black hole. I didn't know about the word “ginormous” either and find it suspect, just as others may be suspicious of my word “certitudinous”. I suspect “ginormous” may be a tacky combination of giant and enormous, so I'm not going to use it. Not at all, and certainly not from the pulpit, where preachers like to wake people up by casually tossing out some pesudo-sophisticated word; like heilsgeschichte. I've done that to see if anyone was listening. Nobody was, or at least nobody blinked. I also like to contemn stupid rules, like our stupid grammar rule that says commas and periods go inside the quotation marks, but not exclamation points or question marks unless they are meant to be part of the quote. And our stupid church rule that says no unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion: what a load of crap for a church that preens itself as politically correct and on the cutting edge of inclusivity, but the bishops are either blind or too obtuse to see it. Not to mention theologically stodgy.

How did the magic dancing fingers happen to get off at this bus stop? It's because this is our last Sunday to read from John chapter 6, the Bread of Life discourse. John 6 would have been a fascinating read for one Sunday morning; but the lectionary framers think the people in the pew all have attention deficit disorder, so instead of one loaf, they sliced it into five little bites for five Sunday mornings. It's a good thing we're done today, because by now we've sung all the bread songs and hymns and praise songs that go with it.

The fascinating thing that Saint John the Evangelist has done with his story, what he has Jesus saying, is to have Jesus unite himself with the manna that Moses gave in the wilderness, with the tiny quantity of bread that feeds a ginormous crowd of people out in that lonely place, with the prophet-like-himself that Moses prophesied, with the Being and Name of God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. Signs and "I AM" sayings.

Along with the lesson from 1st Kings and closing out Ephesians, we'll have one last look at the Bread of Life in Sunday School this morning before the lectionary returns us to the Gospel according to Mark.

But my interest was more cosmological than theological, scientists' photograph of the action of Sagittarius 5 and realization of its violently tumultuous nature. As in "Jesus calls us, o'er the tumult" sung to the right tune. 

A link to the HuffPost article is below. As a struggling pseudo-theologian, I find, even as Sagittarius 5 is still but a speck, a miniscule particle of the universe, I realize once again that our world, our minds, our imaginations, our vision and especially our God, are too small, to borrow from J.B. Phillips. There is so much out there that we ants can't grasp it, and when we find out about it we say it can't be true because it challenges our certitudes, so we stick our heads back in the sand.

If God is truly whoever or whatever said “Let there be” and it was so, we have a lot to learn and a lot of adjusting to do. 

And if Jesus really said “Let the little children come unto me and forbid them not,” we need bishops who are not stodged up with rules. Most of them never looked in a telescope either.

T+ in +Time and counting

Your God is too Small, J.B. Phillips, 1961

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