Philosophical reflection on Whiteness
Pastoral Prayer upon the death of James Cone

Pastoral Prayer upon Stephen Hawking’s Death

This is more than a month old, but I wanted to share it.

Physicist Stephen Hawking died this week. Hawking inspired us to ask questions such as:

What do we know about the universe, and how do we know it? Where did the universe come from, and where is it going? Did the universe have a beginning, and if so, what happened before then? What is the nature of time? Will it ever come to an end?

He believed that one day science would develop a complete unified theory and then all humanity would be capable of discussing "the question of why it is that we and the universe exist." He wrote, "If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason--for then we would know the mind of God."

Hawking of course was an atheist, so he was writing in metaphor when he spoke of God. But I've always been intrigued by how even science, when pushed to the outer limits of theoretical physics, sounds deeply spiritual and mystical.

And so today, as we enter our time of prayer, let's do so in awe and wonder at the marvels of our universe and our human ability to understand them.

Let us begin with a moment of silent reflection.

Silence.

God of Time and Space,

You have surrounded us with wonder

And we are in awe.

You have also given us amazing powers

To explore and study and theorize and understand.

Our brains can build rockets that send probes billions of miles from Earth

In order to send pictures back to us revealing unimagined beauty.

We can develop theorems that in simple mathematics grasp profound truths about how the universe works.

We can imagine and dream and hypothesize not only about the very beginning of time and space but what might even be outside our own universe.

May we always defy our earthly and physical limitations.

May we always be curious.

May we always look up at the stars and wonder why.

Now, as our Savior taught us, let us pray:

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