A New Year’s Meditation on the Christmas Launching into Father Sky

There are dimensions to the launching of the James Webb Space Telescope on Christmas Day that are very much worth noting on New Year’s Eve. 

The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s premier space observatory of the next decade, successfully launched from French Guiana on Christmas Day. Video from CNN.

First, the exact date was a surprise, since the launch was delayed for years and then months and then weeks, and even on Christmas Eve because of strong winds–until eventually December 25th seemed to work. 

And it did work, this $10 billion dollar project put together through co-operation (remember that word?) of thousands of scientists and governments from over 29 countries, all eager to learn more about our common origins as creatures of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

There is a lesson there for sure.  When the goal is big enough—yes, even bigger than war—and appealing enough—yes, tapping into humanity’s deep-seated curiosity of our origins—we can accomplish amazing things together.  And courageous things.  Of course, the Telescope is not a success yet, but we are hoping.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, largest and most complex space telescope ever built. One hundred times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, and able to gather light that has been traveling for 13.5 billion years, Webb allows us to see the oldest galaxies. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech on Wikimedia Commons

It is about knowing more about our newest creation story, the one from science–Where are we from?—that just might assist us to consider and reconsider: Where are we going? 

This is a primary purpose of a creation story after all—to give us a common morality, ways by which to create a common ethic.  The aboriginals of Australia, the most ancient tribe on the planet, say that “our Dreamtime teaches us the rules for living in the environment.” 

The idea that morality and ethics are derived from our knowledge of the universe is common to all wisdom teachings.  Wisdom is about living harmoniously in the universe, which is itself a place of order and justice that triumphs over chaos and even employs chance for its ultimate purpose.

Given how we are facing a common extinction as a species and facing also a common extinction of our democracies around the world, might the JWST assist us?  Might reaching to Father Sky assist us?  Might it usher in a healthier masculine-feminine balance as we begin a very auspicious New Year?

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, pp. 43ff.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Artist’s impression of the James Webb Space Telescope, folded in the Ariane 5 rocket during launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Webb is an international partnership between NASA, ESA and CSA. Credit: ESA / D. Ducros

Queries for Contemplation

What lessons do you derive from Father Sky?  And connecting Father Sky to Mother Earth at this time in our history?  And both to the start of a New Year?

Recommended Reading

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

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13 thoughts on “A New Year’s Meditation on the Christmas Launching into Father Sky”

  1. Avatar

    Teilhard De Chardin proclaimed that our human curiosity, our continuous searching for our origins leads to evolution becoming intentional, as co-creators. I wonder though, if launching into Father Sky will move humanity towards a universal consciousness, or if it will draw us into a universal convergence of connectedness… when the Earth and the all and the everything of creation has offered this same potential of our evolution becoming intentional… which we time and time again fail to really learn.

    I think of the billions of dollars invested and the many countries coming together for this project, and I question could this same co-creative intention not have been put to greater use here on earth, to evolve humanity towards a more universal consciousness, convergence and connectedness regarding all of the crisises we are currently facing.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Thank you for your comment. You raise some important questions from a financial perspective in terms of our spending priorities…

  2. Avatar

    Thank you for this Matthew. I watched the movie Don’t Look Up last night, seems an antithesis of this DM. I hope the principals of truth and cooperation outrun those of lies and lust for power.

    1. Avatar

      Darby, I also watched that movie and found it a chilling reminder of the realities of the cost of materialism–our very existence. I hoped at the end that those coming off the spaceship would all be eaten up, and not just Meryl Streep! But that was not clear.

  3. Avatar
    Ken and Katharine Jacobsen

    Dear Friends,

    A prayer that came recently around the launching of the James Webb telescope,

    Ken Jacobsen, Delavan, Wisconsin


    in our passion to know,
    we are sending our magnificent telescope*
    a million miles out,
    to see into the universe,
    where we come from,
    how we were born,
    why we are here,
    where we are going;

    oh friends,
    in our passion to know,
    I pray for an instrument
    to see into ourselves,
    into our human hearts,
    where we come from,
    how we were born,
    why we are here,
    where we are going.
    kpj 12/16/21

    *the James Webb Space Telescope,
    launched 12/25/21

  4. Avatar

    I agree with the meditations/thoughts of Jeanette and Ken & Katharine J. We still have a long way to go in our evolution of consciousness and inner exploration of our many inter-dimensions of Divine Love~Loving Oneness within ourselves, one another, all living creatures/things, nature, Mother Earth, All Creation, and the Cosmos (macrocosm and microcosm)…. the Mystery of our Loving~Personal~Evolving~Creative~Immanent~Transcendent God is All in All and we’re co- Creators….

  5. Avatar

    THANK YOU, Matt. SO grateful for your deep time connections of Thurman, Acquinas, and the Webb telescope – ABSOLUTELY, a rebirth of hope and wonder, a rebirth of my own curiosity and growth, and a rebirth of the human in the offing. We are the evolution.. we are the womb and the manger. Many blessings to you as you, in a new year, begin a new year.
    Gratefully, Carol Kilby D.Min. UCS 2004

  6. Avatar

    I must express my profound gratitude for this message Matthew, and all your messages- they light up my days with a truth that blazes. I must admit, I am accustomed to being overwhelmed by science, and even gravitating to the cynical when the dollars spent and corporate interests are trumpeted. I thank you for holding the space steady for the wonder and awe and significance that I would have missed about this event. Your highly educated inquiring mind and youthful enthusiasm help me so much to stay engaged with this mystifying world. Thanks for the daily rhythm of your shared meditations here- much appreciated by me, and I think by many many more.

  7. Avatar

    “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of Love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, humanity will have discovered Fire.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

  8. Avatar

    Our oldest son is an astrophysicist (Stanford PhD) who formerly worked for NASA on the Ferme satellite. Now a professor himself this launch really excited him in that this is not a typical satellite, but a “mini planet” that will have a solar orbit (though “connected” to the earth). Yes, it cost a lot of money, but I’m reminded of Jesus’s words regarding the priceless jar of nard. }:- a.m.

    1. Avatar

      Thank you, Patrick, for the analogy of the priceless jar of nard, a just comparison. NASA’s work has a history of increasing our sense of awe. I think of it this way. We are venturing into the darkness of space and its apparent (though not real) emptiness. (The Via Negativa) It represents incredible creativity. (The Via Creativa) It increases our sense of awe as we gaze at the vastness of the universe. (The Via Positiva) And as we recognize that vastness and phenomenal beauty and power, we may experience a metanoia, as Matthew says happens to more astronauts than Christians. (The Via Transformativa) The way I see it, there’s another reason to “spend all this money” on space exploration. It focuses the attention of (primarily) male humans and their desire to invent and conquer on something beautiful instead of something destructive like war-making. That alone makes it worthwhile.

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