Midweek Faith Lift
March 18, 2020
Stations of the Cosmic Christ
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
It is the season of Lent, and in that season of reflection, of feasting and fasting, we are embarking on a journey to explore, expand and grow in understanding and awareness of our Cosmic Christ nature. We are going deeper into the mystery. We speak of and endeavor to connect with the Christ within that is the true essence of our aliveness. Now we are going to be intrepid explorers of the Cosmic Christ, that Universal Energy in which we live and move and have our being. As it says in the Book of Acts 17:27-28
27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’ (NRSV)
Why look at this Cosmic Christ? We are a part of the Cosmic Christ. Science tells us that we are made of star stuff, the same stuff as our ever-expanding Universe. Consider now these images of the nebulae and galaxies of the Universe from the Hubbell telescope. This season of Lent, a season of reflection, is the perfect time to look both within and without to realize that our story is much greater than our own personal narrative, just as the Jesus story was much bigger than the story of Jesus the human being. When we look at life from that much larger perspective of the Cosmic Christ, what do we see? That is the challenge and the mystery!
Matthew Fox and Anglican Bishop Mark Andrus have compiled a new version of the ancient spiritual practice of the Stations of the Cross. These were part of the Catholic/Anglican tradition to reflect and meditate on the last 20 hours in the life of Jesus. Matthew Fox and Bishop Mark Andrus have expanded this concept to the Mystical Events in the Christ Story, our story, with the vision of Christ as a cosmic figure, larger than any one religion. It is meant to be a spiritual practice and a reflection on the whole Jesus story as a portal to experience the much larger, Universal Cosmic Christ.
Each station is a meditation and reflection. In the gospel of John, a cosmic gospel, there are 7 “I AM” statements by Jesus, and then the Nativity, Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost. These are the 16 Stations of the Cosmic Christ that we will explore and meditate on during this season of Lent and beyond. In so doing we are returning to what the earliest followers of Jesus remembered and wrote about in the gospels. They were engaging the deep mystery of the experience of God through their engagement with the Christ energy of Jesus.
This is also going to be an Inter-spiritual Journey that includes our inner Buddha or Buddha nature, our inner Sufi and the God Image of the Kabbalah, which is Jewish mysticism. It will also include the direct experience of the Great Spirit, which is the spiritual practice of native peoples. If ever there was a time that humans needed a Cosmic religion, that time is now. Einstein said we need a cosmic religion, to quote him:
“(humans are)now moving into the third phase of religions experience: cosmic religion….True religious genius has always been endowed with this sense of cosmic religion….This oneness of creation to my sense is God. This concept of God will unite all nations….a new age of peace will be inaugurated when all people profess a cosmic religion, when the youth have become laymen with scientific minds.” P. 22, Stations of the Cosmic Christ.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) goes even further with this when he says:
The cosmos is fundamentally and primarily living….Christ, through the Incarnation, is internal to the world...rooted in the world, even in the heart of the tiniest atom…Nothing seems to me more vital, from the point of view of human energy, than the appearance and eventually, the systematic cultivation of such a ‘cosmic sense.’” p. 24 Stations of the Cosmic Christ.
This then, is an invitation to be our “best” selves, our highest selves, to Practice the Presence of the Christ within, the Buddha within, the Divine Image of God within, the Great Spirit. It is an invitation deeper into the mysteries of the Cosmos, what the Catholics have called the Mystical Body of Christ because we are all a part of that mystery. The Christ of us is the most loving, joyful, justice-committed, courageous, generous, caring, compassionate part of ourselves. We embark on this journey grounded in the inner knowing that God’s will for us is good and only good. And that to do God’s will means the highest expression of goodness that we are capable of in this now moment, in any given moment!
In this Cosmic Christ journey, we need to pay attention to some familiar terms from Scripture, which are used with specific understanding by Fox and Andrus and they are:
Angels: Cosmic Beings who travel at the speed of light who represent the Cosmic Christ.
Lord: Kyrios or Ruler of the Universe, again a Cosmic title for the Cosmic Christ
Cloud: In apocalyptic writings, Divinity rides in the Clouds, which are settings for an encounter with the Divine. In desert culture, a cloud is sort of a miracle that brings shade and water. A cloud in the Jewish writings of the Old Testament is the Dwelling Place of God. (Think Moses on Mt. Hebron)
Glory: Connotes Divine Radiance, the beauty of the Universe, Cosmic beauty, (think images from the Hubble telescope)
Wilderness and Mountains: Mountains are places of Divine Power and energy- in Unity we see this as a place of higher consciousness where the beauty of the Divine is experienced. The Wilderness or desert is also a place to encounter the terror and beauty of the Divine. This is where your heart is broken open and the Divine speaks to you. It can be terrifying.
Evil: The struggle with evil is a wrestling with cosmological forces, “powers that are bigger than humans alone.” (Ephesians 6:12)
We are also calling into play the energy of archetypes; the Cosmic Christ is an archetype. What are archetypes? Archetypes were identified by psychologist, Carl Jung in the early development of psychology to identify the figures in our collective unconscious that have accumulated throughout human evolution.
Jung’s definition is this:
“Archetypes are images and thoughts, which have universal meanings across cultures which may show up in dreams, literature, art or religion.” (Jung, 1947)
Jung believes symbols from different cultures are often very similar because they have emerged from archetypes shared by the whole human race, which are part of out collective unconscious. McLeod, S. A. (2018, May 21). Carl Jung. Simply psychology: https://www.simplypsychology.org/carl-jung.html
Our intention in this journey is to invite a direct experience of the Mystery that is the Cosmic Christ. It is the mystery at the center of all spiritual journeys; a direct experience of the Oneness known by many names that is in us, and all around us, that is the “ground of our very being or existence.” The mystical experience is cosmic, it is an experience of the Immensity of the Universe that is so much greater than we are. It is an experience of Intensity of awe and wonder and truth and beauty that resonates so deeply as to be unforgettable. It is an experience of an Intimacy so deeply personal that it can and does birth something astonishing and beautiful within each one of us. It is an invitation to see the “Light in all things!”
We are inviting and experience of Immensity, Intensity and Intimacy of the Cosmic Christ during this season of Lent. I have no idea how this will show up for any of us, or for all of us collectively, but we are taking the archetypal Hero’s journey which invites transformation during this season of renewal and rebirth that is spring, that is Lent. Our own mystical writer, Rev. Eric Butterworth says it this way;
Within every person is the unborn possibility of limitless growth, and ours is the privilege of giving birth to it. Paul obviously had this in mind when he referred to …mystery hidden for ages and generations….which is Christ in you, the hope of glory(Colossians1:26-27….
Dwell for a while on the idea of the universe as the Allness that we call God realizing that everything within it…is created in and of the universe. You may wonder about the vastness of the universe and peer at it through a telescope. However, you are not on the outside looking in. You are on the inside looking out. You are the universe at the point where you are. Attributed to St. Augustine is the profound thought: God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. (Excerpted from Celebrate Yourself! By Eric Butterworth.)
If that is the case, then you are the place where the whole of God is, you are the
place where God shows up! You are the center of the universe, the center of God! This is a transcendent reality that says there is “that of you which is centered in God and which is a point of God activity flowing forth into expression as you. And the circumference is limitless. There is no limit to God or to you in God-Consciousness. We are the Cosmic Christ; now we learn to live into that reality and what it means for us each and every day! Welcome to the journey, welcome to Lent!
Blessings on the Path,