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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Physicists are looking for God… again.

The Hadron Collider, the world’s largest, most powerful particle accelerator called went into action this morning. The drama is playing out – at this moment – inside a 17-mile tunnel on the border between Switzerland and France. The $10 billion research tool is supposed to send proton beams racing in opposite directions around a 17-mile oval then attempt to make them collide at high energy so scientists can then observe what happens at the instant of the crash. They hope these experiments will answer fundamental questions about the universe such as why Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity – which describes the world on a large scale – doesn’t jibe with quantum mechanics, which explains the behavior of very small parts of the nature.  Some believe that the collider will reveal new properties of the universe such as the as-yet theoretical Higgs boson, sometimes called “the God particle.”

We’ll see!

The European collider has been dogged by problems and controversy. In 2008 the 25,000 joints that connect the 17 mile loop of magnets came loose. And last year a bird apparently dropped a “bit of baguette” into the accelerator forcing researchers to shut down. And from its inception some physicists have issued dire warnings that colliding particles at this pace could incite dire consequences – like creating a black hole that would swallow our galaxy.

Hmm.

God has given us remarkable curiosity and a creative capacity to act on our own wonder. I think he delights in our delight to explore the outer reaches of our world. He welcomes our questions, our theories, our plots and experiments. He has invited us, “search.”

But God never promises that we will find all the answers on our own. He says, “Seek and you will find,” but he warns that searches cannot succeed if we dive into the question without his counsel and guidance. God does want us to know truth, but he warns us that Truth (capital “T” is only found in Him and with him. God himself is Truth itself. And for that matter he has to REVEAL himself. The initiative comes from God. He comes to find us, then peels back the layers of mystery. He’s the Great Father who plays hide and seek with his children and calls from behind the couch so that we know exactly where to look. He gives us the dignity of the search then comes close to us so we can’t miss, if we really want to see.

The stumbling stone is that we often don’t want to find GOD himself. We want truths about the world, to satisfy our curiosity, but the KNOW God, in an intimate and personal encounter is another matter. There may be a “God particle” at the bottom of the barrel of the world, but we won’t find God himself there. He can’t be known about, he can only be known and experienced. He’s a person, not a piece of stuff.

“God, we want to know you. You have given us curiosity to learn and discover the secrets of your world. Thank you for blessing us with the dignity of wonder. Bless all these scientists who are searching so diligently to learn how nature is woven together. Help them to think creatively and to walk humbly in their tasks. Give them insight and focus as the glimpse down into the heart of things. But call them beyond what they observe. Call them and all of us who are watching with them to yourself. We want to know you, not just know about you and your world. Give us an encounter. Collide with us, soul to Spirit. In Jesus…”

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