Sunday, March 30, 2014

Space, Matter, and Me

Two years ago, we moved across town and out of our fist home. It was a tiny (and I mean tiny-- 275 sq. feet!) garage apartment and we were "upgrading" by about 600 sq. feet-- but I wept leaving that little place. 

Today, I had to throw away an article of clothing that my grandmother bought for me in college. I'd worn it to threads, and continued to try and make it work because I just so loved the memory of her giving it to me. It's a piece of fabric-- but I wept saying goodbye to it. 

I used to denigrate emotion over physical things. "Stuff doesn't matter," I used to think. "If I say I'm a Christian, then I should value the spiritual over the physical. What matters is the internal, the invisible, the immaterial." 

But then I learned about the God who spoke the world-- physical reality-- into existence; the God who loves to "let there be" light, water, plants, animals, people; the God who says, "It is good." 

I learned about the God who valued His physical creation so much that He assumed it, by becoming flesh. In the Incarnation, He put on the very stuff of creation and called Himself man. 

I learned about the God who invites His people to encounter Him in the tangible, physical bread and wine week after week after week. It is in the menial and mundane material of this world that I most understand His powerful gift: "This is my body, broken for you."

I learned about the God who intends to redeem all of creation through His saving acts; whose glorious end is to unite the "invisible"-- Heaven itself-- with the "visible," by coming to dwell with His people on earth. 

And so I've realized, if God honors physical reality, why shouldn't I? These things reflect His character, His love, His very self. I'm called not to elevate any created thing to the place of idolatry (making material matter into my god-- materialism), and yet my tendency to care for the tangible gifts of this world isn't sinful or silly. Rather, it's evidence that I'm made in His image. And so I've realized, the loss of things that are meaningful to me isn't necessarily evidence that I should try and be more detached from them, but it is an invitation to long even more for His coming. For these are things He came to redeem: Space. Matter. And Me. 

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