(CC) Emily Boring–Where my faith and my work as as scientist meet

The practice of science, for me, is a kind of communion. I realized this one morning in Marquand Chapel, when I joined the Eucharist after a shift in the lab. The whole community held hands and sang and passed around bread and wine.

Wine is 85 percent water. These same drops of H and O have existed since the start of creation, cycling through clouds and oceans and streams and bodies. Bread is made from biomolecules, complex chains of carbohydrates—Cm(H2O)n—and nutrients like calcium, phosphorous, and iron. These molecules are hewn from the earth, cycled from rock to sand to soil to biomass. When you eat, these minerals assimilate into your bones and blood, constantly rebuilding and restructuring your inner architecture. Each bite of bread becomes an affirmation of union. Through the ritual of breaking bread, we teach our bodies that we belong.

Franciscan scholar Cynthia Bour­geault writes, “To see God in others means to realize that the whole and the part live together in mutual, loving reciprocity. . . . We are simply two cells of the one great Life.” It’s one thing to recite “We are all living parts of one body” in the rhythm of eucharistic prayer. It’s another thing to taste and touch this union, through the crumbs in your mouth and the held hands of others, while also glimpsing the entire chain of matter and energy and evolution that led to this moment and the cascade of bonds and interactions that will continue on.

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Posted in Religion & Culture, Science & Technology