“Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 “Jesus, remember me …” Luke 23:42
I’m reading a book by physicist Lawrence Krauss called A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing. And while one reader’s review says Krauss is able “to explain very complex topics in [an] accessible manner“, I have to admit that I don’t understand a lot of what I am reading. But there are several key themes that are striking home.
First, our universe is expanding. I’ve heard it before; but something rather obvious had totally escaped me. If the universe is expanding, things are getting further and further away from each other. It’s going to take some time – about two trillion years by Krauss’ estimation – but the day will come when all traces of the beginning of the universe will be invisible to any life that might remain. There won’t be any memory of where it all came from.
The universe is headed toward a condition of cosmic Alzheimer’s.
Krauss is an unapologetic atheist who lifts up the idea that we are living in an extremely privileged age. We are strategically positioned to be able to see backward and forward. Because they can see where we are headed scientists can deduce with a high degree of certainty where we have been.
Dr. Krauss acknowledges that the time frame in which things happen on a cosmic scale can make them seem irrelevant to we mortals whose span is “threescore and ten” or, if we are strong, “fourscore years” (Psalm 90:10 – KJ). But this gives me pause and, if truth be told, leaves me with a melancholy feeling – this notion that we would be so far from each other as to be invisible. We who work so hard to escape our planet’s gravitational pull can now conceive of a day when no matter how much energy or money is spent, there will be no coming together again.
We won’t even want to be “together” because there will be no evidence whatsoever that anything else exists.
What if Lawrence Krauss is spot on in his understanding of how things will be? What if these centuries, these millennia in which human history currently finds itself are indeed “privileged”? And what if the greatest privilege of all is that we can see both where we are going and where we’ve been – together?
What if Matthew Fox had it right 26 years ago when he noted that what is missing these days is “awe”? Quoting Abraham Heschel, Fox notes: The beginning of wisdom is awe.
“Humans exist for awe’s sake,” writes Fox. “To be radically amazed and to draw radical amazement from one another – that is our task. It is a mystical task, a task that demands we overcome the temptation to take our existence for granted.” (Matthew Fox: Coming of the Cosmic Christ.)
We have the capacity to remember, and to remember together. This is a gift so amazing as to be beyond belief! We know how tragic Alzheimer’s Disease is for both the patient and his or her family. The thought that one day in the future all of creation would be isolated, each piece in its own place with no possibility to connect with any other piece or place should inspire us. Collectively, we canremember. It should break our hearts to know there are people who aren’t even willing to try.