I love this quote by Einstein because it forces us to hold two things that we normally think of as opposite – science and religion – and see them instead as connected and overlapping. This came to my attention during the “Building Your Own Theology” class that recently concluded. For eight weeks, about 20 of us met for an hour and a half to talk about our beliefs. Jim Dealing and myself led the class and we followed a workbook written by Richard S. Gilbert. The class was wonderful for the discussions it sparked and for the thoughts we shared. This Einstein quote came out of one of those discussions.
As Unitarian Universalists, we have a particular obligation to figure out our own theology. One of our religious principles is “the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” As UU’s we have decided that we don’t want the kind of religion where someone else tells us the answers—not authority figures like ministers, priests and bishops; also not a single sacred text. Instead, UU’s claim the freedom to figure out what we believe about god, about life and death, about right and wrong, about human nature. With this freedom comes the responsibility to do the intellectual and spiritual/emotional work to figure out what we believe. It is a life-long process, and it is one that is better done in community than individually.
Albert Einstein shows us that mystery and wonder are not incompatible with science, but are essential to it. He offers this as a defining characteristic of religiousness. Unitarian Universalists are constantly searching for truth and meaning in the world. We find it by ourselves and we find it with each other.
Powers of the mind, be here now. Bring the ability to understand and compare ideas, to judge and decide. Wisdom of the spirit and the body, be here now. Open us to what our bodies know and what our emotions tell us.
Spirit of mystery and wonder, be with me and allow me to feel and to know. It is a joy to understand and it is a joy to acknowledge that some things are forever beyond my understanding.
Amen. Blessed be.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
May 13, 2021