“The Devil’s in the details.”– Popular saying.
“For want of a nail, a shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, a horse was lost.
For want of a horse, a rider was lost.
For want of a rider, a battle was lost.
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost.”Old proverb
Sub-atomic particles beget atomic particles; atomic particles beget atoms; atoms beget molecules; molecules beget elements; elements beget substances, substances beget organic material, which beget organisms, which beget living things. So we are taught and given to reduce reality.
The progression from micro to macro seems universal. Anything great can be reduced to its most basic parts by the expenditure of energy, but only energy directed and controlled could produce anything organized to begin with. The mystery is why it should; what makes anything take that direction in a universe that functions as a quantum infinity?
The tiniest missing factor would leave it all dead and cold – but it is not. What is defies all odds. All the science and math we can concoct says it should not be, but here it is. Here we are.
When we bring it into the realm of the living, we find an incredibly improbable development – DNA. The universal Code of Life, the key to everything that moves and lives and reproduces itself and eventually becomes a conscious being even capable of knowing itself and its own existence. By themselves, its molecules have no power or magic, but linked to one another in endless varieties and combinations they create almost endless variations of amazing and wondrous living organisms, and even intelligent beings.
Yet, take any molecule out of it and you destroy the power of the whole. Take any molecule on its own, and it is a dead, static thing. Take any atom from the molecule, and it destroys the element. Take a particle from the atom, and the atom is gone, or perhaps made something else.
Universal Principle: all big things are an assembly of innumerable little things.
All great things are the product of a myriad of small things.
From galaxies to protozoa this holds true.
In human affairs, it is no different.
The king is nothing without the masses of peasants and subjects.
The dictator is nothing without the masses of adherents and zombified followers.
The mega-billionaire is nothing without the poor workers in their hundreds of thousands doing the work (s)he profits from.
And a human being does not exist without the union of a single sperm cell with a single egg cell.
None of this explains any of the mystery of why it all is in the first place, and why the great ALL is brought into being by the seemingly random outcomes of illimitable coincidences.
And yet here we are.
We remain anchored to the conviction that it appears to have a meaning and purpose, despite all our fancy footwork and brain-work to reduce it to the Book of Ecclesiastes saying, “Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless.”
For it to have a meaning, do I have to know it all, to see it all, to understand it all?
You think it has a meaning because everyone is searching for it, so it is universal among us self-aware beings to innately know it is meaningful and we are built to discover what it means.
Maybe it’s enough for me to find that meaning in love – love of special people, things, places – a sense of belonging and bonding to create something together – even if it’s only among us and for the lifetimes we share. Every generation seeks that and does that.
But what if that is really a small part, an atom or molecule, of the great story of meaning that is bound up in the great Whole, what we are meant to portray – the Story of Love and Bonding and Creating?
The Ultimate Story. The Story of Meaning. The Story bound up in warp and woof to the One, the Originator who once upon a time spoke, saying, “Let there BE. . .”
And it all came to be.
But then it went a-wandering and lost its way – like we so often feel about it all in our souls, that we got lost somewhere along the way.
That we need to be found and brought home, home to the center where it all began.
Home to where the First Speaker is, to where the First Lover calls for the Lost to come back.
Here we are. If we have ears, let us hear. The Voice is still calling, still yearning for the Lost, us, and all the errant bits and pieces, atoms and molecules, to turn around and come back where love and hearth and home abide for all and always.
This season we call Christmas echoes our yearning. It still carries the call of the Voice. It answers our sense of having lost the deepest and most precious part of who and what we are meant to be. In the form of a newborn-baby in a none-too-tidy stable manger, the smallest and least form of humanity that could be used to challenge our idols of greatness, power, and significance, the Voice and very being of the One reaches down to say, “Come home! I love you and I miss you terribly!”