Some of us have been watching the Cosmos series hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, a delightful exploration into the origins of life. What mystery!
We seem so small to be thinking so big. Yet, here we are, exploring, learning, becoming. Who could imagine that life, whether human, fish or flower share the same DNA? Arranged one way it becomes an eye, another way a rose bud or sea turtle. What mystery!
This Easter season, Christians proclaim another deep mystery -- Jesus, alive from the dead.
The mystery of the whole season of Lent derives from the word spring -- life springing forth again after the deadness of winter.
Truly mystery invites, yet defies our control.
Is it hard to explain how all the universe could expand from a tiny compressed "something"13.8 billion years ago? Is it hard to believe that life could be there for us after we die?
Mystery yearns within us to wonder about many things. But lacking control can also be a serious problem.
In the Cosmos series, we learn that those who were out there trying to make sense of the mysteries of life -- like Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin -- were persecuted by religious folks because they saw that Earth was in a different relationship to other objects in the sky and other forms of life.
Learning that Earth wasn't at the center of everything and that we're all woven life forms in the fabric of life forms, how does that make us feel? And that leads to another important mystery: spirit.
What is spirit? Though invisible, how it's shared can make a huge difference.
Is it helpful to admit that our spirit has been sadly mistaken about a lot of things, like the origin of disease; the placement of Earth in our solar system, galaxy and universe; the prejudices we've had against people due to sex, race or religion; the misuse of Earth's resources? Indeed, all the heart-rending abuses of power and pride? What a mystery we're so human.
Is there hope in the mystery? I think there's evidence to say yes.
Put in a positive way, what a wonderful mystery that people all over the world do share in a spirit of humility, compassion and loving respect for life. Christians follow the spirit of Jesus. Buddhists, the Buddha. Muslims, Allah. Native Americans, the Great Spirit. Though we humans do indeed use our power to hurt one another at times, other voices continually call us to the mystery of a gentle, learning, positive spirit.
Might Shalom, Love, Unity, Peace and Transcendence be parts of the same Spirit mystery?
Personally, I share in the joyful mystery of Easter. Confessing a broken humanity during Lent, I join others in proclaiming wonderful mystery: God is alive with good news: "Yes, though tiny and learning, you're all precious!"
Now there's great mystery, to ponder and live.
-- Rev. Daniel Rieke is pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran in Kennewick. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.