Midweek Faith Lift
March 25, 2020
“In the Beginning…..Light!”
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
In the beginning there was…..what??? What??? This is the First Station of the Cosmic Christ, the beginning! None of us were there at the beginning, when there was nothing but darkness, and void. We did not witness how the Universe began, but we are certainly curious about it. Howard Thurman, an African American Christian mystic says it this way: “…This is an inherent characteristic of mind; it is not unique to any particular age of man, culture or society. Contemplation concerning origins is part of the curiosity of the race.” 16 Station of the Cosmic Christ, p. 53
Here is how Hebrew Scripture tells the story:
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (KJV)
There is also a passage from Proverbs 8: 22-31 that says that even before all of creation, Wisdom was playing with God: “30 then I (Wisdom) was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always…”
Wisdom is the feminine aspect of God, so we have the Divine parents laughing and playing with delight as creation comes into being and the light emerges from the darkness. What is so powerful is to pause and realize that what science has learned actually corroborates the Scriptural story of the beginning.
It all begins with light, with what science calls the great “Flaring Forth” or the “Fireball” or the “Big Bang,” which apparently was silent and not a bang at all. It is essential to pause and realize that we were all in the beginning because we all share the common atoms that were birthed in the original “Flaring Forth!”
Science and the story of Scripture share the same reporting of the mystery of the beginning of the Universe with Light!
So what does this mean for us, that we were part of the birthing of the Cosmos in our very atoms? What the mystics have understood this to mean is that before our very physical existence, we were loved by the Divine nature of the Universe birthing the Cosmos. Not only are we “star stuff”, we are beloved “star stuff!” As the 14th century mystic, Julian of Norwich, an Englishwoman, said, “We have been loved from before the beginning,” and “God never began to love us,” because God has always loved us. When we contemplate this spiritual and scientific truth, it can’t help but change our perspective. No matter what our human parents did or felt about us, the Universe, the Cosmos, the Cosmic Christ has always loved us and never stopped loving us, all of us, no exception!
The next very powerful realization from contemplating “the beginning” is as that all things in the universe are related to one another. Bishop Andrus says it this way:
Indeed, it is true to say that all meaning emerges from fire in the Great Flaring Forth, for the meaning of all things is not separable from the totality of all that is. But in our encounter with the Archetypes of the Cosmic Christ, the first discernible meaning, lying within that initial instant is the focus: All things in the universe are related to one another.” Sixteen Stations of the Cosmic Christ, p. 55
The native peoples have known this intuitively as they constantly speak of all their relations to include the winged ones, the crawling ones and so forth. How do we relate to all of creation as we explore the sacred story of our common creation?
How does it feel to realize that in creation, you were brought forth in love no matter what the circumstances of your human birth and family? Pause and breathe and take that in for a moment! Let it take you out of your human story. Let this awareness of both scientific and spiritual reality, that your very atoms are star stuff, lift you to a higher place in consciousness where you know that you are created of love as an expression of the Universe breaking into love. Pause and breathe! THAT MEANS THAT NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HERE BECAUSE YOU ARE HERE!
And that brings us to Station Two of the 16 Stations of the Cosmic Christ” “I am the Light of the World.” Now what? Well, let’s begin with the Gospel of John, the Gospel of a Jewish Mystic, that starts like this:
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (NRSV)
Notice how this Gospel does not say that the darkness goes away, it says that the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it! That is the key to understanding this Station about Light. The whole Gospel of John is about Light, which for John is truth and love. Bishop Marc says it this way,
“Light in John’s Gospel is truth and love. Truth is our deeply interconnected reality; love is self-giving love in the matrix of this interconnectivity….Both light and night are supernatural qualities in John’s Gospel. The latter is ignorance of the truth…but what truth? Truth in this sublime gospel is the Unity of God that holds all beings together. Night, the converse, is the delusion that we are separated from one another, from the Earth and from God.” P. 59 Stations of the Cosmic Christ
Is it not truly amazing that this pandemic experience of the Corona virus is reflecting to our human family just HOW interconnected we all are. The necessary experience of separation from each other makes it so very real how much we are truly interconnected. And perhaps, just perhaps, the name “Corona” which means light or crown, is to awaken us to the power of the Light even in the seemingly unrelenting darkness? Just imagine if you will the actual power in the word, the Light,the Divine Logos or words that each of us can speak to affirm the power of the light that is not overcome by the darkness? We are truly interconnected and we now have the opportunity to “get it” in a profound and healing way. Is that the gift of this Coronavirus challenge?
The other part of the story of the Light to keep in mind is that the darkness does not ever go away, nor does it need to. It is in the gifts of the darkness that we can truly rejoice in the Light, even as we will rejoice when this global pandemic subsides and we can again gather and celebrate together. The reality is that light and darkness are in relationship with one another throughout our lives; throughout the life of the Cosmos. If we try to reject the darkness or the shadow, then we are buying into the delusion of separation that comes with Night. The spiritual challenge of this Station is to hold the duality of light and darkness and not be overcome by it. Our challenge is to hold to the truth of the Psalmist verse: “Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:12)
What does this mean for us? The teachings of Jesus are to “be the Light of the World” as he was and to not hide our light under a bushel, but to let it shine for all to see. Now remember that all these teachings of Jesus were in an era of oil lamps, moonlight, sunlight and starlight, NO electricity! So light in the darkness was a powerful metaphor and image. Light was highly valued and precious. So it is with us. When we deal with our own inner darkness and allow it to come into the light, we are embracing our Cosmic Christ.
What is it that lurks in the darkness of your being? Shame is one of the most toxic things that hides in secrecy and exposing our sense of shame leads to almost unbearable feelings of vulnerability. And yet, and yet….when we can tell our most difficult secrets that carry that shame and speak them aloud to those who have earned the right to hear it, then we come into a light that is so powerful, beautiful and strong that the darkness, whatever that was, cannot overcome it. That is what it means to be “the Light of the World.” It is the light of “….Me, Too!” It is the light of “Black Lives Matter!” It is the light of “Let My People Go!” It is truly the light of freedom, of inner freedom, that can never be put out.
In this enormous worldwide challenge of pandemic, let us embrace the lessons of the darkness that teach us how we are so interconnected and that the same light shines in each one of us. Our challenge is to let that light of love outshine the darkness so the darkness is as light to us!
Blessings on the Path,