Talk Series: A Bigger Picture
What could a science-informed faith look like?

By Sharon Grussendorff

In this series we will look at how some of the advances made in science invite us to reimagine our faith, moving us into a much bigger frame than the small cosmology and confined theology that many of us grew up with.

The outline of talks for this series is:

  1. Introduction: Introductory video to the series (The introduction is about 14 minutes in length).

  2. Talk 1: “Deep Space and Time: the expanse and history of the known universe" (Talk 1 is about 26 minutes in length).

  3. Talk 2: “Matter, Incarnation and the Intimacy of God” (to be posted on 24 October)

  4. Talk 3: "Non-duality, determinism and God’s will" (to be posted on 31 October)

  5. Talk 4: "Relativity, time and eternity" (to be posted on 7 November)


Introduction to the mornign retreat

Length: 14 min

At the end of this introduction, you could go straight into the first talk below, or you could spend some time reflecting on the scripture passage of the baptism of Jesus yourself and watch the Talk 1 video at a later stage.

Mark 1:9-12

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness.

Henri Nouwen wrote: “As a spiritual practice claim and reclaim your primal identity as beloved daughter or son of a personal Creator.”… “Once I have accepted the truth that I am God’s beloved child, unconditionally loved, I can be sent into the world to speak and to act as Jesus did.”


Deep Space and Time

Introduction to the mornign retreat
Talk 1

Length: 26 min

Invitation to wonder:


  • Some clear evening I invite you to venture outdoors and look up at the evening sky. Allow yourself to gaze in wonder at the expanse and mystery of the night sky. Once you have done this, make a conscious choice to open your heart in receptivity to the Creator. Allow the inner spaciousness and receptivity within you to reflect the vastness of the sky above you. Reflect on any one of the following questions that stirs within you:

  1. Can you feel the Creator's presence with you / within you? What is stirring in you in response?

  2. Can you sense the invitation to be a co-creator with Creator God, as a participant in our human awakening to our fuller potentialmore cooperative, healing, generative and loving?

  3. Can you open yourself to the silence of wordless awe at the intricate creative wonder of this unfolding creation?

  • Now allow your reflections to become a spontaneous prayer or a creative response in the form of a poem, psalm or artwork.

Quotes for further reflection:


Ilia Delio:

“Life in God should be a daring adventure of love—a continuous journey of putting aside our securities to enter more profoundly into the uncharted depths of God."

“We humans are evolution made conscious; hence, our choices for and in the world shape the future of the world.”

“The discoveries of twentieth–century science, especially Big Bang cosmology (“universalism” or cosmic wholeness) and evolution (nature's openness to the future), ushered in two new dimensions of life, wholeness and futurism. Contrary to the ancient Ptolemaic cosmos of order, stasis, and hierarchy, the Big Bang cosmos was now seen in its evolving capacity for greater wholeness and openness to consummation in the future.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

“Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever newborn; you who, by constantly shattering our mental categories, force us to go ever further and further in our pursuit of the truth.”


“The time has come to realise that an interpretation of the universe—even a positivist one—remains unsatisfying unless it covers the interior as well as the exterior of things; mind as well as matter. The true physics is that which will, one day, achieve the inclusion of man in his wholeness in a coherent picture of the world.”

Ending music:

End this time with listening to the following version of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, sung with English lyrics "Joyful joyful we adore Thee". If you would like to turn up the volume and sing along, I have pasted the pyrics below.

Ode to Joy (Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee) Lyrics:


Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,

God of glory, Lord of love;

Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,

Op’ning to the sun above.


Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;

Drive the dark of doubt away;

Giver of immortal gladness,

Fill us with the light of day!


All Thy works with joy surround Thee,

Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,

Stars and angels sing around Thee,

Center of unbroken praise.


Field and forest, vale and mountain,

Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,

Singing bird and flowing fountain

Call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving,

Ever blessing, ever blest,

Wellspring of the joy of living,

Ocean depth of happy rest!


Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,

All who live in love are Thine;

Teach us how to love each other,

Lift us to the joy divine.


Mortals, join the happy chorus,

Which the morning stars began;

Father love is reigning o’er us,

Brother love binds man to man.


Ever singing, march we onward,

Victors in the midst of strife,

Joyful music leads us Sunward

In the triumph song of life.


The links for talks 2 to 4 will be posted in the next few weeks.

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