Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself… Philippians 2:5-7a
Lately, I have been contemplating space – not the space of the universe, but the space in my life – or, more accurately, the lack thereof. I consider myself a busy person, but my busyness is largely illusionary. When something comes along that I find desirable, I usually find time for it. Often, those desirable things are sporting events – Royal’s games, Jayhawk basketball, Chief’s football – hardly world-changing priorities. I fill the space in my life with all sorts of distractions – television, social media, and don’t get me started on the limitless and time-sucking distractions awaiting on my smart phone. In reality, I often find myself filling space by killing time, fully understanding that to be a form of murder – time past cannot be reclaimed any more than a homicide victim can be brought back to life.
In the Preface to his book Immortal Diamond, Fr. Richard Rohr writes, “The goodness of God fills all the gaps of the universe, without discrimination or preference.” As I contemplate God filling the gaps of the universe, I realize that my obsession with filling the gaps in my life are preventing God from filling that space with grace. Why do I fear open space? Do I fear how God will fill that space if I do not keep myself occupied with lesser activities? Clearly, if God is to enter my life in any sort of meaningful way, there must be room for that entry.
Physicists tell us the universe, including the “solid” matter of the earth, is mostly space, within which is mass and energy. In 1905, Albert Einstein published his Special Theory of Relativity, expressed in the equation E = mc2, and defining the relationship between mass and energy. Mass, it has been said, is just energy that has been tightly compressed. In what may be a giant leap of simplistic reasoning, one could say that what we perceive as solid matter, such as our bodies, is compressed energy, with latent energy filling the spaces in between. Before I put anyone into a catatonic state of scientific indifference, let us substitute the word energy with the word spirit, as in the Spirit of God. What if our “solid” experience is just a condensed manifestation of the energy we call the Holy Spirit? Pervading the “space” between the solid objects in our world is Spirit, or in scientific terms, energy. This seems consistent with both science and theology, if only in my mind. Spirit/energy fills all the gaps with possibility and potential.
Rohr goes on to say, “Grace is not something God gives, grace is who God is.” To experience that grace, we must allow ourselves the space for the Spirit to compress in us.
Come home to church this Sunday. Come empty; leave full.