Supernova 2017

by Charlotte Long, Youth Ministry

I've been reading a lot about supernovas lately. Well - I guess I've been reading about the life and death cycle of stars. A supernova is a type of star death. The core of the star has shrunk and heated up and become incredibly dense; and then it explodes, scattering its little star guts everywhere. The funny thing is, star guts are everything. I mean literally, star guts create galaxies. For instance, a very important supernova for our Milky Way happened about 5 billion years ago - those star guts happened to have come together and created our sun, the source of all creation in our solar system.

The supernova gives us a new way to think about death. As a Western society, we are so hyper-trained to be afraid of death, to avoid the exploration, tradition or implications of it. We're even afraid of small deaths - day-to-day endings and failures. But as Christians, we are followers of the man Jesus who displayed a welcome and radical acceptance of death. I believe he was trying to teach us something about the nature of God - something the mystics understood, something the planet and natural world prove all the time - but perhaps something we have forgotten here on the eve of 2017. The cycle of death and life are part of our constant lesson in surrendering to God and of the deep kind of joy and connection that comes from constant conversation with our Source. As Richard Rohr says, that can only happen through deep suffering or attentive contemplation. Both can lead to Grace, and that is where the really good stuff is.

If, at the end of this year, you are feeling that you are afraid of the little deaths- the graduations, the transitions, the moments of letting-go, the life markers, the seemingly frightening upheaval in the nation - remember that here in the desert is the shortest pathway to Grace. God shouts the loudest in the little deaths. It takes only a shift of heart and an opening of spirit to hear God calling us into an opportunity. It could even make us excited for all that is in store for us.

Happy 2017, Church of the Holy Comforter!