One of the bright spots in what’s deemed ‘news’ these days is the Juno probe. NASA launched it back in August of 2011 and it is just now making its way to Jupiter. Long trip. It will spend the next 20 months orbiting Jupiter 37 times, collecting all kinds of data about the largest, and oldest, planet in our solar system. One of the hopes of the mission is to provide clues into our own planet’s formation 4 billion years ago. HERE is the Juno mission website that has some fun and educational videos fit for adults and kids.
The first imaged sent back from Juno, just today, including three moons of Jupiter.
Meanwhile, there’s all manner of struggle and strife happening on our pale blue dot. We are trapped in cycles of violence and stalemate. But we are also extending our consciousness outward, probing for answers. What I love about the Juno probe is how it embodies our quest to understand, a posture of openness to that which IS. We’re willing to go to great lengths and expense to explore. We want to know about our neighbors. We want to know ourselves. We want to know how we came to be and how that might impact who we are becoming.
We are doing an impressive job probing outer space, but a less than stellar job probing inner space. What are the origins of our desires and ambitions, our grievances and hurt? How deep down and far back must we go in order to better understand a way forward? How much time and effort are we willing to invest in exploring the inner life?
This month we are focusing our worship services on the Parable of the Good Samaritan where the question “Who is my neighbor?” is front and center. Our species is currently getting to know our planetary neighbor far away, eager for what we will learn about it and ourselves. A commitment to the spiritual life is one of looking both outward and inward, willing to listen that which IS, holding a posture of openness. What we learn about ourselves has direct impact on our neighbor. What we learn about our neighbor has direct impact on us.