Let me just geek out for a moment…not to worry, this isn’t out of the world stuff, so just bear with me. One of the most exciting premises of quantum theory states that the very act of watching, “the observer,” affects the observed reality. Electrons can behave as particles or waves depending on an observer, and how they are observed. Until then, for example, when measuring light to determine whether it was a particle or a wave, (up until that time it had to be one or the other), it was discovered that it could be both, depending on the act of observation. While I’m not going to get into the particulars of the science here (although I did do so in a high school course I taught on science and religion) I simply want to stress the power an observer or participant in life has in shaping what that life looks like. We are active, and willing participants in what takes shape in our world.
There is also plenty of science out there to back up that attitude is everything when it comes to engaging in any endeavor, a new job, success in school, solving a problem, or facing a hardship. How we engage with the world has an impact on it, and what we believe about the world does too. So, the first step in my year of understanding power begins with what place you and I have in the balance. How does what I observe in terms of information, words I hear and read, affect the direction the the world takes?
I am reminded of the ripple effect, how our small acts in the world ripple outward to effect others in a way we may never know. I am even more mindful then, of how the words and information I take in impact the world. My goal is to take the gifts God has given me, and produce good fruit from them, How do I do that? One way is by being clear about the power of the information that I ingest everyday, and what it does to my sense of empowerment and impact in the world. I say this because of the amount of literal lies and misinformation out there, much of which is inappropriately under the guise of faith and religion. Jesus says that the truth will set us free, and I work hard to find out what that looks like in my life.
The Gospel of John begins: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. It is one I’ve always pondered over a lot over the years. Is God a particle or a wave? Something demonstrably impossible for us as humans to know, except through words, scripture, history, the testimony of Jesus who by his teachings and ministry show the observer where God’s power lies, and what it looks like as applied to life as a disciple of his message. The words of scripture have shaped who I am as an observer, my outlook on the world and how I behave in it. I would like to believe that the power of the Word, as John speaks of it, guides my every movement, and yet being human I know I have succumbed to becoming deaf to it when the voices of fear, hate, judgement and sadness seem too loud. The tether God has to me, though, by my personal belief and choice, brings me back eventually. While my circle may be small, I still take my influence in it very seriously…as we all should in our own circles. I know that my small ripple when combined with others does impact our world. As an observer, I want the fruits’ of my labor to build trust, love, faith, hope and ease fear, pain, anger and sadness. I want my power to reside in the words that Jesus left us, not in the structures of power built around him, that are limited to a human ability to hold to those truths.
Jesus, in his ministry often spoke of the power of words, he said that by our words we will be redeemed and by our words we will be condemned. He also said anyone who would lead astray the likes of these (children) would be like having a millstone around their neck in the depth of the ocean. We must humble ourselves to be as children, who are curious and open to the world, and that when God is with us, there is nothing that can keep us down. That is my goal as an observer, to fill myself with awe at God’s power, to see God as he is meant to be seen and instill that into my world.