The Love of Thousands

Yes, that. A friend sent me that, and then I wrote this…

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We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now. — Rom. 8:22

The universe has labored in agony for over fourteen+ billion years to give birth a hospitable star and planet suitable for life. The earth took shape over four+ billion years, and life has slowly evolved over three+ billion years. Preparing the way for my life were the endless cycles of cosmic birth and death, violence and suffering, chaos resolving into order; and a hundred thousand years of human genealogy, of the struggle to survive and thrive, to build civilizations and make culture, to search for God and one another amidst the ruins of Eden.

Their gift is my inheritance.

I still remember the episode of Cosmos when Carl Sagan said, “We are a way for the universe to know itself. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff.” And I remember the strange feeling of being grateful to the stars for spending themselves for me.

“This is my body which will be given up for you” is written into the very structure of existence.

This grand cosmic and bio-history is my litany of gratitude, which my lifetime will not be sufficient to exhaust. I give glory to God by being grateful for the laboring agony of creation, of life, of humanity, of my ancestors who have given me the opportunity to be, and to do the same.

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. — Meister Eckhart

3 comments on “The Love of Thousands

  1. Jennifer says:

    Yesterday’s post and this one tie in to one another so deliciously!

    I was pondering your legacy post yesterday as I sat on the waterfront outside the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax while my kids burned off some energy on a submarine-themed playground (which according to a newspaper article posted inside the museum, was at one point featured in an episode of ‘the Simpsons’). A few metres away from me, a mandolin-playing busker was perched beside a display of a dozen massive anchors, singing classic Beatles and Rolling Stones out to the ocean.  The playground stop was a quick break from our visit to the museum which houses an incredibly moving tribute to the 1917 Halifax Explosion plus several artifacts from the Titanic and other shipwrecks, a display of early sea-going vessels (with a full-time shipbuilder in residence), plus an exhibition called “The Sea in Her Blood” which highlighted the contributions of several maritime women. 

    The melange of history, the ravaging power of an un-tamable sea, pop-culture references, unsung heroes, and classic hits was a good headspace in which to ponder with awe legacy, the long view, and wonder why we (collectively and individually) remember what we remember.

     Among the Titanic artifacts there is an intricately-carved wood panel from the arched doorway that led to the Titanic’s first class dining room and various personal affects found on some of the retrieved deceased including a young boy’s toy marble and a toddler’s calf-skin shoes.  Within the Halifax Explosion exhibition yard-long twisted fragments of railway ties and other metal debris impressed upon the viewer the enormity of the force of the explosion.

    However what moved me most and shouted “legacy” and “the love of thousands” were three particular objects: 1) the telegraph key, watch, and pen of Vincent Coleman, the telegrapher who lost his own life by staying behind to warn in-coming trains of the impending explosion. His life is featured in a “Heritage Minute” which in Canada means instant infamy… “Heritage Minutes” were these one-minute short films that aired as commercials throughout the 80’s and 90’s on Canadian airwaves.  They were a very effective attempt to put a human face on history.  Interesting too, to see how legacy becomes legend — a lot of the details are wrong, but the heart is the truth. Here’s the film if anyone is interested: . 2) the accounting of all the immediate and enduring support that the State of Massachusetts provided in the aftermath.  To this day, the province of Nova Scotia sends a gigantic Christmas tree to the City of Boston each year to say thank-you.  I knew about the tree tradition, I had NO idea the incredible extent of support from the state ( ).  And finally, 3) a child’s hand-made green, corduroy coat that one of the survivors was wearing at the time of the explosion. Her mother, who died in the explosion, had just finished making it for her and the daughter kept it as a memory of her mom and a tribute to a mother’s quiet, unsung, ever-caring provision. 

    Thanks for giving me a theological ribbon to tie this all together!

  2. Jennifer says:

    oh…and this universe video…can you picture my googly-wonder eyes?! ahmayyyzing

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