God particle

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

Last week they found the Higgs boson! For all you non-calculator-carrying mystical meditating un-geek poetry-reading hippie types, this is a really big deal.

When scientists came up with the math that explains how the physical universe holds together, they had a perfect equation, except for one thing. It explained a universe in which nothing had any mass—there was no substance. In order for things to have mass, there had to be one more factor, that they called the Higgs field, named for the guy who did the math. It’s a dimension of the physical universe that gives things mass when they interact with it. If it’s there, the math says, then there should be a tiny particle, called the Higgs boson. If they found that particle, it would prove almost everything. Trouble is, for 48 years, since it was predicted in 1964, nobody’s been able to find it. It’s been humorously called the “God particle”—not by scientists, but the popular media. In fact some scientists have suggested calling it—pardon the scientific jargon here—the Goddamn particle, for its elusiveness and the trouble and expense it has caused among those trying to find it. Until last week.

(Higgs Boson walks into a Catholic church. Priest says, “How dare you call yourself the God particle! Blasphemer! Get out!” Higgs Boson says: “Well, OK—but without me, you can’t have mass!”)

One thing I love about this whole thing is the “faith in something not seen” they had. Another is the sense of wonder. And another is the Higgs field. Present in all the universe, it gives things mass when they interact with it. Isn’t that sort of like God? God is present in all the universe, and when you interact with God, you are given substance. Nothing else gives you substance, not what happens to you, not what you do, not what others think of you. It’s God’s interaction with you. You aren’t responsible for the substance of your existence: it’s a gift from God. In a way you are a God particle, a tiny manifestation of the holy mystery that holds everything together.

So celebrate with the particle physicists. Like the Higgs boson, it turns out you’re more than just a figment of the world’s imagination. You’re proof of the existence of God.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve


Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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