I have been thinking about black holes for a long time–in both scientific and metaphorical terms. “It melts into wonder” when I imagine a place so gravitationally dense that even light can’t escape.  The mathematics of relativity predicted this, but a highly efficient universe demands it–at least in my mind!  I didn’t view black holes as the scary stuff of science fiction–I viewed them as glorious cleansing agents for the universe–the best metaphor EVER for the death a Savior who represented all mankind! Jesus’ death was so gravitationally dense in terms of all human dysfunction that even the light of our former state doesn’t escape to illuminate our future!

I realize that this view I’m sharing may not arrive immediately.  We do indeed often walk in the false illumination of powerless former identities when we forget to fix our eyes on the great gift of cleansing we have received!  Like the children of Israel being consumed by venomous snakes, we need to LOOK to the “serpent on the pole” to LIVE–clearly that is the cross in our day–transferring our snakebite experience to that cosmically conquered spot labeled, “died with Christ”!  And that LOOK that brings LIFE is a deep gaze from the heart–not just a casual nod in a Christian direction.  There have been times in my Christian experience that I have searched images of black holes just to observe them on my screen–allowing the visual to remind me in my deepest core that there was already a Death of the thing that is trying to live on unauthorized in me!

So, imagine my excitement several weeks ago when the first actual photo of a black hole arrived on my retina!  (And the science world felt the same, even if they had no spiritual metaphor attached to it–and even as Jimmy Fallon compared it to.a donut!)  We really do live in a universe with the ability to remove things! We really do live in a place where something can leave and be gone!  Jesus didn’t just die a theoretical death–He died an “evacuative” one!  He is able–as we lean into it and give our hearts to the process—to eradicate the unwanted and the unhealthy so completely that even the shadows from their “light” are untraceable! Sometimes we don’t see the newness everyone is shouting about because our vision is still so lit up with the old!  We need the black hole of a Savior’s ULTIMATE death…

I realize this is NOT the common take on a black hole–but then it’s NOT a common phenomenon, really, is it?  I feel safe in my lateral thinking that assigns purpose to an object of cosmic vacuuming!  Besides, if you take this from me, I will just find it somewhere else in creation!  I’ll wax poetic about our immune systems and their amazing abilities to destroy invaders, or marvel at the chemical nature of fire, or find something else in creation that speaks of a healthy purge of pathogens!  I believe something important about this universe God spun forth from His being:  the rhythm of death and resurrection is EVERYWHERE in it to be encountered.  God didn’t merely create perfection–He created a perfection that was sustainable even in the light of the imperfect!  If I’m willing to LOOK (and keep on looking), I can LIVE (and keep on living)…