by Kriss Miller – Friend in Residence
It was a sunny day and a gentle breeze that provided the backdrop for Victoria Loorz to remind those of us sitting in the Hall of Philosophy of the importance of staying in conversation with nature. In the Interfaith series for this Wild week 2 of the Chautauqua season, Loorz brought up ways in which inaccurate interpretations of the Bible can alter one’s perception of not only their place in the world but the world’s place as well. Other speakers echoed the same sentiment during the week, beckoning us back into an existence where human connection, collaboration, and conversation with the natural world are the rule, rather than the exception.
We humans are unique creatures. We are filled with wonder yet selfishly controlling. We are born with a drive to create yet we are dangerously destructive. We have expanded an almost unimaginable intelligence yet we are incredibly ignorant. We can be wholly capable of solving problems of enormous magnitude at the same time we are burying our heads in the sand.
While pondering this post, breathtaking images from the edges of creation were coming back to NASA via the James Webb telescope. These awe-inspiring images instantly made me feel tiny and weightless. There is relief in the weightlessness, relief in feeling very small. There is laser clarity that ours is not the only point of view. So I wonder. What if somewhere, in a faraway spot in this seemingly eternal darkness, there is one teeny tiny dot that represents our sun. And just maybe, somewhere in a far-off universe, there is a child, pointing up at our star, and wondering what is happening where we live. What are we doing to keep our light shining.
The Webb Telescope photos serve as a reminder of the limits of our universal value. It also gives us permission to savor the amazing gift of being part of this web of existence. It urges us to treasure our place in this beautiful, wild, and wonderful universe. It offers us the opportunity to de-center ourselves as the sole focus of the Creator. If we are called to see that of God in all, then the all includes caring about and for every piece of this wondrous existence in our corner of eternity.