The ancient Christian hymn from Philippians celebrates the rejoicing of the entire cosmos: “All beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld,” reverence the name of Jesus and “every tongue acclaims” him. (Phil. 2:10,11)

“Choirs of angels,” from Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, the cosmic meaning of Christ’s life and death are celebrated:

From the beginning till now, the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first fruits of the Spirit. (Rom. 9:22,23)  

Clearly, a cosmic spirituality and a cosmic awareness were not lacking in the earliest rituals of the Christians.

The Hebrew scriptures celebrate the cosmos wherein the Creator “sees to the ends of the earth, and observes all that lies under heaven.” (Job 28:24) The whole universe sings the Creator’s praises:

“La Jérusalem céleste,” detail of the Tapestry of the Apocalypse of the Château d’Angers, France. Wikimedia Commons.

The Spirit of the Lord indeed fills the whole world, and that which holds all things together knows every sound that is uttered to be—for this God created all. (Wisdom 1:7, 14)

When the Jews worshiped in the temple of Jerusalem, they believed that the temple represented the center of the universe.   

How important is that?  How has that influenced great Jewish thinkers and scientists and musicians and philosophers through the centuries?  Spinoza, for example, who was Einstein’s favorite philosopher, said that the universe is God’s body.

“CANTICLE OF CREATION” by Dan Schutte. Video by Jereme Asunto

Is the universe itself a temple of God?

In the New Testament and the earliest hymns of the Christian community the cosmos is present. But is it present today in Western religions and theologies and worship?  In the dominant rituals of the Protestant or Catholic churches? In our culture as a whole? 

One hopes so. For without it, worship is flat.  And Earth will not be recognized as sacred.  Ecocide and despair will prevail over love and action on behalf of Mother Earth. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality, pp. 73-75.

See also Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

Also see Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus, The Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

Banner Image: Dust clouds and newborn stars in the Lagoon nebula, between 4000-6000 light years toward the center of our galaxy in the constellation Sagittarius. Photo by the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC), NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Queries for Contemplation

What is it that “holds all things together?”  How important is it that we celebrate that whether we come from East or West, from indigenous or goddess traditions, from Jewish or Christian traditions?

Recommended Reading

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.

This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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5 thoughts on “The Cosmos in Christian and Jewish Liturgy”

  1. Avatar

    “Love and Mercy Reign By Design” (originally written for another meditation)

    One foot follows the other when we walk. It can only be that way, or can it? How are we in more places and in more ways at once? Do we see our presence, do we see our vibratory presence long before or long after a word is spoken, an action taken, a step taken? It is there. It is part of the ‘akashic records’. As cited by Wikipedia, the Akashic records are a compendium of all universal events, thoughts, words, emotions and intent ever to have occurred in the past, present, or future in terms of all entities and life forms, not just human.

    We may be ‘transitory lepers’ in our own right but the healing touch of St. Francis and Jesus are always with us. Through all time and space, healing and wholeness, our birthright, is just a step away in our conscious awareness. That is the way that ‘we change sides’, as some look to call it that. We are healed and made whole. We are the ‘leper’. St. Francis was the ‘leper’. We are not good people that all of a sudden become altruistic. We are all ‘lepers’ in search of healing and wholeness. Once healed and whole, we have the eyes and ears, the mind and heart, to bring others out of the perpetual darkness that clouds their vision as ours was clouded. We are all the ‘lepers made whole’. Love and mercy reign by design, and that is the ‘only’ side we are on. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    In spite of the danger that our beautiful Sacred Mother Nature/Earth and all living species are in, including our own, because of our environmental destruction (see Michael Dowd’s post, we have Faith in our CO-CREATOR~SOURCE’S Living Healing Compassionate Transformative Spirit continuing to work within and among us (Mother Earth and our multidimensional-multiverse Cosmos) to spiritually transform us, all living things, and our planet with DIVINE LOVE, WISDOM, PEACE, TRUTH, JUSTICE, HEALING & TRANSFORMATION….

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