The God Particle

In physics, The God Particle refers to the Higgs Boson which was discovered in 2012 after scientists had been searching for it for 40 years. The Higgs Boson is – in the words of this English major – the subatomic particle giving mass to all other particles. I’m sure it’s more complicated than that, but I’d like to focus on the God part.

Driving home yesterday, I was listening to the NPR radio show “On the Media” about the fragility of the world as we begin 2023. Climate change, in particular, continues to threaten the planet. Fires. Hurricanes. Hunger. Famine. Flooding. As Brooke Gladstone reported, we’ve become accustomed to “doom and gloom.”

Friends – perhaps we are also living in the thick of our own personal doom and gloom. The levels of trauma, addiction, injustice, inequity, mental illness, and random catastrophies are overwhelming. And yet, there is at least a particle of God – the One who “gives mass” to all other things – in the midst of even the most overwhelming.

Scientifically speaking, the God Particle gives energy to weaker particles. Theologically speaking the God Particle gives energy to weaker particles.

The fact that it took 40 years for scientists to figure this out is just fun. (According to the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures: It rained for 40 days while Noah was floating in his ark. The Israelites wandered for 40 years on their way to Canaan. Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days. There are 40 days between the resurrection of Jesus and the ascension of Jesus.)

I witnessed a miracle yesterday that speaks to this truth about God and life. I love someone who was in the depths of misery years ago to the point that his bones and blood and soul were all weak with pain. His choices had been dangerous. His vision was cloudy. His perspective was cloudier. Those of us who loved him felt crushed. And yet there was a particle of hope in the midst of the agony. And a lot of people prayed.

Here’s what happened: that particle of hope activated the particles of hopelessness to the point that a massive, life-giving spark occurred. It wasn’t immediate, but it also didn’t take 40 years.

Yesterday this person I love was ordained to church office. His faith is strong. His life is good.

Scientists put it this way.

Theologians put it this way:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

At the closing of the “On the Media” segment on Fragility (and aren’t we all fragile?) Brooke Gladstone says this:

Okay, so we don’t have much agency when it comes to the thermal death of the universe. I wish there were a pill (that helped us be less afraid.) All we have is a little free will: making the decision not to despair.”

My friends, please believe me when I tell you that even in the worst moments of life, even when God seems far away or non-existent, there is still a particle of God in the middle of everything. Do not despair. Do not be afraid.

Dedicated to MPM and RME. Image from Scientific American 10-21-99.

4 responses to “The God Particle

  1. Jan, my friend, thank you for this. “Theologically speaking the God particle gives energy to weaker particles.” This is a wonderful insight. A great sentence also. It confirms what I experienced many years ago when I was at my weakest, bereft and almost lost. Along with Barbara there were Presbyterians in a new place, not this Presbytery that was so divide, a new place where the particle of hope , shared through others, restored the mass of my soul. It is what I experience now as I help this Presbytery along a path toward racial justice The God particle has stirred my soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jan, thank you for your blogs and especially this one. It spoke so directly to me and is of great inspiration. May God bless you, your work and your family. Pender


  3. Years ago when the APCE Annual Event was in Atlanta, the late Fred Craddock was keynote speaker on Hope. He said: Hope can survive on one calorie a day. Words to remember when we feel the weight of it all. One calorie.

    Liked by 1 person

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