Musing on the growth of human knowledge, Socrates said: “The more we know, the more we know that we don’t know.” In recent years, that’s been proven over and over… by the mysterious Black Holes and by the exploding Nova’s of an ever expanding universe. And now, Socrates is being proven right once again in studies of the very smallest elements of the universe.
For over two millennia, philosophers had theorized that all matter was composed of irreducible building blocks they called atoms. Then in the 20th Century, the irreducible got reduced. The atom was split… and what had languished in scholarly discussion for centuries suddenly became a cosmic source of power. Einstein explained it all in his Universal Theory of Relativity. But as we now find out, he hadn’t really explained it all. In the 21st Century, we’re probing String Theory exceptions to Einstein, new sub-atomic particles called Quarks and an even newer one called Higgs’ Boson. Confident once again that they have reached the end of the trail, scientists have dubbed this latest discovery “The God Particle.”
If understanding Creation has proven such an endless quest, imagine how much greater the task of understanding the Creator. St. Anselm defines God as: “that of which no greater can be thought.” Everything from the infinitesimally tiny Quark to the outskirts of the cosmos and beyond exists in God and by the will of God. But God does not merely exist. He is existence. Try hurting your head for a while figuring that one out. Philosophers, scientists and theologians have been at it for centuries. But as John tells us in this morning’s gospel, we can do much better than explain God. We can experience God. We can join in communion with him… assured that: Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.
That’s the reason there is Jesus… the Word made flesh. He is the real God Particle… both the message and the medium of God’s love. He is the essential element… both God and Man… the bridge from our limited human perception to the unimaginable essence of God. Through him the awesome Deity is framed in human, comprehensible terms. This gospel translates the divine love that is Christ into the tangible, consumable substances of bread and wine and uses them as transformative media for us to become one with his flesh and blood.
Throughout his public ministry, we see Jesus reshaping the concept of the tribal God of Israel into the Creator, Savior and Sanctifier of all. No wonder the home-town folks are stunned. Try taking all that in at a single sitting, especially when it’s coming from an itinerant carpenter whose family connections are less than the best. But Jesus is not here to impress, much less cajole. He is here to love, to show us how to love, to heal us and transform us, to live, to die and to rise again to the Father. He doesn’t have the time or the inclination to conduct in-depth theology courses at every turn. He puts himself fearlessly forward; channelling his grace to all who would receive it. His ministry is one of obvious spiritual attraction, not of arcane intellectual argument. His life and death will write the text for others to transcribe.
The Bread of Life: our window onto the will of the Father, our portal to eternal life…all this and more is the sacrificial gift of Jesus, our God and our Brother. In him we have found the real God Particle. But there is still so much more to know about the genius that created all and the love that redeems all. In prayer and in scripture, in faith and in love, let’s do more than know him. Let’s experience him more and more with every passing day… until the day when all the particles fall into place… and reveal the face of God.
The Reverend David Sellery, Episcopal Priest, Author, and Coach. Fr. Sellery presently serves as Priest-in-Charge, St. John’s Salisbury, CT. Fr. Sellery has excelled at using new media to increase outreach beyond the Church doors via his website, blog posts, and podcasts.
Image: Higgs-Boson (the god particle)