(Stock image. Image description: A photo of a constellation is seen from the vantage point of space. A swirl of stars spiral outward from a central point of light. Pinks, purples, blues, and golden tones shine bright.)
When I was 8yrs old I wanted to be a astronaut.
God had other plans indeed- for which I’m very glad. I am made and called to be a minister.
I still am mesmerised by exploration, discovery, space and science. My theologian minister self has been thinking for quite a awhile on the theological implications of traveling to other planetary bodies, the gospel, and eventually the spiritual needs of those who settle there – if they do.
Think about it: Communion on Mars – what a thought! Amazing.
I’m called to the ministry …and also in the back of my mind……l wonder if perhaps upon my retirement many many years from now…. a chaplaincy to NASA or SpaceX or whatever the then current organisation might be — might be a fun way to continue in ministry during retirement. (One can dream.)
I realised the likelihood of this actually occurring isn’t very high……. but in honour of World Space Week – (which focuses on positive and peaceful contributions to space exploration) I thought to share this wee poem.
Communion in the Cosmos
I have often thought
That the first minister theologian
Would be a feat
To speak and write the implications
Of the gospel
On the red planet
And luminous moon
To address well
The practical concerns of baptism
While traveling there
And to behold
For those Back home
the fresh revelation of
On other worlds
Praising the God of
To write fresh prayers
Of the God of the new creation
To relate the
Of the first congregation
Across the cosmos
And how Christ plays
In more than ten thousand
To listen afresh to
Behold I make
All things new
In slight contrast to this …..I also wonder at many things…
I wonder at the implications of humans settling colonies on other planets – and worry about the history of exploitation which is a sinful tendency of humanity: that we will view space and planets and moons as resources to be harvested and wasted…rather than explored, discovered and protected. I think on the laws that have yet to be written (and who even would have the right to make them) regulating who sells tickets to space when independent groups become more skilled at building machinery that lets humans leave earth. Simply because they can.
I wonder at those who will have decision making power or influence concerning who settles on Mars … and how the potential for humanity starting again or next … mirrors Noah out of the ark.
I wonder if we are still under the delusion that leaving the planet -even small groups of us – means that our horrible tendencies for greed and self-interest will miraculously be left behind when we countdown to liftoff.
I wonder if new territory far and away – will merely become new places to violently work out unresolved disputes started on earth which still boil between nations and factions.
I wonder if we can strive to protect posts of leadership in all this and if we will help ensure that only the most ethical persons oversee our growing place in the cosmos. I wonder if we will pause to wonder about our place in the cosmos. I hope we will dare to ask “if we should” first before – “what if we could”.
I wonder most of all in this about our own stewardship of this planet which is intended to supply all that is needed for humanity to thrive… and if we will choose to make drastic changes to recover it from overuse and exploitation. I wonder if those that go farther than before will take these new lessons of care and stewardship- there. Wherever “there” happens to be.
I also wonder at the wonders to be seen. The new and yet unknown in God’s creation. In all of this there is the potential for amazing new discoveries – boundless, immeasurable. I hope for peaceful cooperation of nations, stewardship of resources aimed at discovery and exploration rather than exploitation. We should continue to wonder and to ask and to dream.
May we wonder and ask now… so that communion among the cosmos- might truly be a sign of the new creation, peace and new life.