John 1:5 NRSV The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Back in 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope was launched and placed in a low orbit around the earth. From space, the telescope had a terrific view of the cosmos, unobstructed by atmosphere or weather. And what the telescope has found has defied almost everyone’s expectations. For example, in 1995 the telescope was pointed at what appeared to be an empty region of Ursa Major (what we call the “Big Dipper”) and from this small point it collected 10 days worth of observations. What Hubble found in this empty dark spot were 3,000 faint galaxies! All of this in a single small frame that looked empty. Believe it or not, scientists now estimate that there are 100 to 200 billion galaxies in our universe. Now remember, we’re talking about galaxies, not stars. If you consider that each galaxy contains billions of stars (our Milky Way Galaxy has around 100 billion stars) then you’ll soon see that our universe is unimaginably large, and has an incredible number of galaxies which in turn are home to an inconceivable number of stars. And since we’ve been able to confirm that many stars, if not most, are circled by planets… well, you’re left with a Cosmos billions of billions of times bigger than anyone ever imagined.
In this vast cosmos of brilliant heat and empty cold there are plenty of new mysteries that we’ve uncovered, and plenty of things beyond our understanding. But one thing has become apparent. Life is a rare and precious thing.
In this entire universe, our small planet is the only place where we can confirm the existence of life. Those conditions that make it possible for you to read this newsletter don’t exist anywhere else that we’re aware of! Of course, there probably are other planets that could support life. But those planets, and life itself, is clearly a rare and precious thing. And the more we learn about the universe the more we become aware of how amazing it is that we are here at all. Against all odds, we exist infused with a little piece of God, and conscious of how unlikely it is that we should be here thinking about such things. Life is amazing.
Easter is a celebration of life. What happens when the life and warmth of God are apparently overcome by the cold indifference of the cosmos? What happens when goodness and grace are nailed to a cross, and entombed in a cave? What happens when the light seems to be extinguished by the forces of darkness?
The resurrection of Jesus Christ happens.
Easter is the churches affirmation that life, by the power of a living God, and through the example of Christ, triumphs in the end. We are more than conquerors through the one who loves us.
It’s utterly amazing, but true. In a dangerous cosmos and against all odds, life has risen. Surrounded by darkness and evil, Christ has risen. And in the face of tragedy and death, you and I are risen! Celebrate and rejoice, and give thanks to God who’s light and life shine in the darkness – and in us – through Jesus Christ!
In God's Peace;