An Interstellar God

This 0.6 by 0.7-degree infrared photograph of the galactic center shows a large population of old, red stars. However, the discovery of two young protostars within a few light-years of the center of the Milky Way shows that stars can form there despite powerful gravitational tides due to the supermassive black hole. Credit: 2MASS/E. Kopan (IPAC/Caltech)

Yes, I am unashamedly referencing the movie, but that’s because I can’t get it out of my head. I have always been a fan of space. I love sci-fi. I love planets and stars, supernovas and galaxies. I love the images, the imaginations, the hope of people who long to see what is beyond the rock we call home. Interstellar is an amazing display of what those things could be like and I found it breathtaking.

Even though people are arguing over whether the movie is good or not, and are analyzing the science used, I think the movie addressed some important issues. The survival of humanity is one of many. But beyond that, it shows the beauty of the created universe we already know, and the parts we don’t yet know.

I walked away with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the life that I have. It was an experience of something greater than myself. It was a beautiful, immense, and engaging expression of creativity.

While the story was fairly straightforward, the characters reactions to so much information and so many experiences seemed authentic. They were dealing with situations that would be hard to comprehend and process and they conveyed those complex emotions well. Their lives were on the line at every moment and you could see the reality of that set in as the scenes progressed. I was drawn into the humanness of it all in the midst of the sheer magnitude of the tale.

All this left me wondering if we’re missing the point…in church. We have the opportunity to offer our people, and ourselves, a place in a grand narrative. Yet often we settle for the mundane and transient experience of a consumable life. The proper place for consumption in our story is at the table, where we remember the extent to which our God went in order to have relationship with us. He went not only to the end of himself, but poured himself out into his creation in order to experience it the same way we do.

He bent time and space, he broke boundaries and limits, he dove into the very he thing he created because his love, and his desire to make an authentic connection with our limitations, was worth transforming reality. He wasn’t afraid to go someplace he had never been or do something he had never done because we were worth the risk.

That’s the narrative, the story, the epic tale that we get to bring people into. We get to draw them into a space where their lives encounter the One that violated the known laws of reality in order to participate in it. Much like in the movie, Christ takes on the limits of human form and chooses to work within them in order that we might understand something greater, something cosmic, that he wants us not only to understand, but to participate in.

So my question is, how are we doing at this? How are we bringing people into the tale? How are we telling the story in a way that captivates our imagination, that expands our understanding, and challenges our very concept of reality?

I know that often when we encounter those kinds of questions we quickly start fighting over details. We take a dream, a vision of another way, of another life, and we lose it in the details. We draw clear boxes around what is good and bad, who is in and out, and what is permissible and excluded, and we lose the reason.

We find this to be the more appealing way. It’s definitely easier. Knowing the formula and dictating the future is very attractive. But it has a tendency to zap the life out of the story. What if the best chance we have at making the kingdom a reality is jumping into a spaceship with a bunch of technology that may or may not work and just diving into the black hole.

We surely should not survive, much less come out the other side in one piece.

But Christ did. He emptied himself into human life that we might live. Instead of writing a new mandate or giving a new law, he came and lived. And he died. And then he transformed reality forever. He made all things new, brought new life to humanity, and gave us hope for the future. And it looked nothing like anyone expected.

Therefore, the call is to enter the story. To step foot into this transformed reality and see where it can take us. And to bring others with us. To invite them into something they don’t understand, they can’t comprehend, and that they don’t know how to be.

And the joy is found in the fact that we have the privilege of walking alongside them as we figure it out ourselves. Together. With our interstellar God.

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