There is something I learned when navigating through the vast wasteland of car-sized boulders at 12,750 feet while making my way up the final ascent to Long’s Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.
People are less than microscopic.
As we climbed upward toward The Keyhole and then turned back to survey the boulder field, now just 1000-feet below us, our tents had become colored dots in a broken sea of browns.
And the people below, were lost in that sea.
Only moments later, after hitting the summit, we looked down again to take in the magnitude of the boulder field. Our tents were now submerged. And the people had drown in its vastness. The car-sized boulders had become bits of sand washed by the enormity of the figurative waves.
From less than a few miles away, boulders had become granules of sand, tents were visibly imperceptible, and people were nonexistent. One could never tell that there were a couple hundred people walking through the boulder field as we stood there taking it in from above.
That’s about as descriptive as I can get in conveying how relatively miniscule and microscopic a person is on a scale that we can even somewhat understand. Because if you can somewhat begin to understand how insignificantly tiny we are from such a short distance on Earth, then you can really begin to appreciate our relative nothingness on a cosmic scale.
Think about this for a second.
If a human being is basically imperceptible from a few miles away, what about our size from the moon, which is about 250,000 miles away? I know that is a huge leap, but seriously contemplate that for a second. If you are microscopic from a few miles, what are you from moon?
Virtually nonexistent. And that is just from the moon.
But let’s take another step.
What about our size from Mars, which is 34 million miles away? Or, our size from Saturn, which is 750 million miles away? Or, our size from the edge of our solar system, which is nine billion miles away?
To put this distance in perspective, the Earth is theoretically no longer visible to the naked eye from the edge of the solar system. The Earth, itself, has become virtually nonexistent.
So what about the size of a human being from the closest star to our solar system, Proxima Centauri, which is 25 trillion miles away? To put that distance in perspective, it would take 81,000 years traveling at 35,000 miles per hour from Earth to get there. And lastly, what about the size of a human being from the edge of our expanding universe, which is estimated to be 46 billion times 5.8 trillion miles away?
Can you even put your humanity into that kind of perspective? If you are microscopic from less than a few of miles away and next to nothing from the moon, what are you in the universe that is 46 billion times 5.8 trillion miles to its outer edge?
I hate to say it this way, but from a size perspective, we are nothing.
But think about this.
If God created this universe, then is God not larger and even more pervasive than the entire universe? And if God’s very essence, God’s very composition, God’s very DNA is love, then is this love not even more immense and more unbounded than the utter vastness and expansiveness of this universe? Even more, if God’s love is that immeasurable, that unfathomable, that exhaustively immersive, then how do you, as a nearly nonexistent human being, measure up within that love?
If we are nearly nothing in relation to a love that is more expansive, more immeasurable, more unfathomable, more exhaustingly immersive than the universe that it created, then how can we really be that big of an offense to God? How can we really be such vile offenders? Such horrible wretches? Such loathsome reprobates? Such horrible sinners? How can we really be that despised and worthy of scorn? How can we really be that wayward and shameful? How can we really be that deserving of an eternity burning in hell?
To this love, we are none of those things.
We are beloved.
We are worthy.
We are valuable.
And this love continues to pursue every one of us.
The truth is that there is no distance we can travel, no depth to which we can sink, no barrier behind which we can hide where that love is not still with us, is not still holding us, is still not inviting us into its full embrace.
If you think I have gone too far in describing where we stand in relation to this unbounded, immersive, and universal love of God, all you have to do is look at that this love embodied. Because once you see the full weight and measure of this cosmically-sized love poured into a human body, you will finally begin to understand what true love looks like, and how radically different it is from our limited, conditional love.
This is the love of God in Jesus.
And the love we see in Jesus was never repulsed, shocked, or offended by another human being. It is a love that was never fearful of eating a meal with the so-called wicked. It is a love that was never afraid of hanging with prostitutes and whores. It is a love that was never fearful of elevating people who were deemed by the religious as “unclean” or “dogs.” It is a love that was always willing to see great faith in people of different religious persuasions or no religious persuasion at all. It is a love that never took a stand, or needed a platform, or needed to be acknowledged or recognized. It is a defiant love that always did the complete opposite of the religiously-minded when they said, “Don’t embrace them! Don’t befriend them! Don’t serve them! Don’t eat with them! Don’t invite them!”
God’s love is always with those whom the religious believe are undeserving of being embraced, befriended, served, eaten with, or invited in. It is not limited by human barriers or rules of engagement. It is with every person of every race, every ethnicity, every culture, every religion, every lifestyle, every gender, and every “sin group.”
And if this kind of love makes you angry or indignant, then you are more like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day than Jesus himself.
If this kind of love terrifies you for what others will think of you when hanging out with “terrible sinners,” then you have become more religious than a follower of Jesus.
If this kind of love worries you that you are condoning “sinful lives” when you hang out with and serve others, then you do not know the love of God in Christ.
The love of God is radically offensive to those who do not understand it.
The unbounded, immersive, universal love of God is for all people, for all-time and will never be constrained or limited by small-minded, hard-hearted, Spirit-less, microscopic religion that tries to divide it and apportion it by whom they believe deserve it.
God’s love is so much more than a tiny, little ocean washing over us and submerging our limited, finite, and feeble attempts at understanding it. It is beyond universal and we are nothing but lost in it. And when you experience a love like that, you can do nothing but let it consume you. You can do nothing but become that love and share it with everyone without discrimination.
Forever in that love…