Thursday, May 5, 2016

How small is a micron?

When we hear the word micron, we think extremely small. And yet, that is the word used in Chapter 16 of John's gospel to describe the length of time between the Ascension and the second coming of Jesus. 

A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me

So far it has been almost two millennia and for us that does not seem like a little while, a micron in Greek.

Those of us who grew up with clocks that had hands and ticked developed a sense that time moved with a fixed rhythm. It ticked along one second at a time, constant, preictable. Modern physics tells us that the universe is not that simple. Our own human experience tells us that it is not that simple. When we are busy and things are going well time flies. At other times an hour can seem an eternity. 

We are reminded that with time, as with many other things, objective reality and our perception of it are not identical. Yet we have become so self-centered phrases like "Your perception is your reality" are accepted as fact. The so-called "appearance standard" and our obsession with polling to find out how people feel.

As Christians we believe that there is no such thing as "my reality" and "your reality"; there is reality. And how I feel about it doesn't change it. There is a unverse created by God, and I am not its center. The universe has physical and moral laws established by the same God, and the morality of a persons behavior is not judged by how it looks, to me or anyone else. Yes, we should avoid giving scandal when possible, but that cannot be the final measure. 

Perhaps today we should remember that each of us is a micron in the unverse. As infants, we perceive the world in relation to ourselves but we are suppose to outgrow that. In humility, we come to realize that there is objective reality, but God is the only one who can see it in its totality, and is therefore the only True Judge. And I remind myself particularly when judging others that my perception is merely my perception. It may or may not correspond to reality.