Spirit and Matter


Merry Christmas!  I can still say that for the twelve days of Christmas, which end on January 6 (Epiphany).  I hope you all had wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations with friends and family.  Many blessings as you head into the New Year! 

Last week, as I prepared for Christmas, I particularly enjoyed Richard Rohr’s daily meditations, which are delivered to my inbox each morning.  His subject for the week was the Incarnation—Spirit becoming human, light filling matter—apt Christmas themes.  As I ruminated on these, my mind took me back 44 years to my old high school physics class.  The teacher had designed the nine-month course around solving the mystery of what light is.  We went through the standard wave and particle models, and by the end of the year, students were slowly led to the conclusion that light is both a particle and a wave: Quantum mechanics tells us that light atoms behave like waves until you are watching them, upon which they behave like particles.  What a mind-bending paradox!  If you can explain how that happens, well, a Nobel Prize is probably waiting for you.  My theological background though tells me this all has something to do with the mysteries of consciousness and God.  

Richard Rohr says, “We do have to make room for such a mystery, because right now there is ‘no room in the inn.’  We see things pretty much in their materiality, but we don’t see the light shining through.  We don’t see the incarnate spirit that is hidden inside of everything material.”  I’ve come to see that the Christmas season is all about slowing down and admitting paradox and mystery into our preoccupations with materiality.  Incarnation means even more than God becoming Jesus; it means that God has always come and is always coming into the physical, material universe.  Rohr concludes his December 17, 2023 meditation with a statement I found absolutely stunning: “We’re always waiting to see Spirit revealing itself through matter.  We’re always waiting for matter to become a new form in which Spirit is revealed.  Whenever that happens, we’re celebrating Christmas.”  Indeed, it takes faith to believe that there is more on the light spectrum than the particles of the material world that we can see with our eyes.  May the Epiphany season before us be a time to grasp that we are embedded in a far larger reality than we think. Life and the cosmos which sustains it are made by God and infused with holy light.  As such, all who exist and our material world deserve our love, nurture, and respect.

Happy New Year!

Co-Pastor Sandi