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"Creation is the Primary Cathedral"

November 15, 2016

 

I have seen God in creation many times in many places...last night, for example as that remarkable moon, closer to the earth than it has been in 68 years, rose over the St. Johns River and lit the river with broad swaths of moon dance. Or the breathtaking sunsets over Grandfather Mountain on the far side of the Pisgah Forest from our porch in Western North Carolina. But Richard Rohr's meditation this morning reminded me of one time when I saw a cathedral in creation and was speechless. 

 

"The Gospel transforms us by putting us in touch with that which is much more constant and satisfying, literally the “ground of our being,” and has much more “reality” to it than theological concepts or the mere ritualization of reality. Daily cosmic events in the sky and on the earth are the Reality above our heads and beneath our feet every minute of our lives: a continuous sacrament."+

 

Several years ago on a boat trip on the waterways north of Vancouver, we came upon one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It was a grey day, misty and cold as we anchored outside of the inlet and loaded into dinghies. At the mouth of the inlet, we began to hear and feel the purr of the waterfalls. Chatterbox Falls spewed at the far end, but on both sides of the inlet were cliffs with waterfalls cascading into the mist. It was holy, sacramental, and my first words were, "This is like a cathedral." Until this morning, I have never heard anyone express what I felt that day. But Richard Rohr's words about the ground of our being and the reality of daily cosmic events sum it up. 

 

"Both Jesus and Francis knew that everything created was a message about the nature of God. Nature was not empty of divinity. Seeing nature as secular or merely functional created much of the loneliness and seeming meaninglessness in our contemporary worldview."+

 

There is in nature an essence that connects us to the Divine in a way not institution or human can. In these times of discord and vitriol, I find it comforting that so many people are looking at the moon. "Daily cosmic events" remind us of God's presence in all that we say and do, in the air we breathe and the molecules that surround us. 

Sitting on the bank of the river with friends the other night reminded me of God's presence in relationships, in the ritual of watching the moon, and in the words spoken between us in the dark as we watched. (And that night the moon did not show, but there was much reassurance that we knew it was there!)

 

This piece meanders just as our dinghy did in Princess Louisa Inlet, but I hope it will remind us all to meander through our day celebrating and honoring the cosmic events that cross our paths. God is in the minutia and everything else!

 

+Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 47-48.

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