"Where nature, spirituality, and life meet in Deep Conversation"

As a pastor "by day," and one who has grown up in the Christian household of faith, I believe the divine Mystery is present in creation and can be understood through creation (Romans 1:20). This is not an exclusively Christian belief but a deeply recognized truth common to infants and elders of all races, tribes, religions, and world mythologies. The ancient Celts understood the natural world as the First Book, or the Big Book of divine revelation. The World for the ancient Celts was the primal matrix, the mother, the womb of the Word. "Matter" and "matrix" both share a common latin root with the word for mother. "Nature" and "natal" also share a common root meaning origins or birth. The emergent Christ in creation is the truly Natural One - the one who participates in the Wholeness of being. "I am the one who comes from that which is Whole," Christ says in the Gospel of Thomas. 

We cannot fully understand the meaning, the poetry, of deep nature and the part we play as a species as long as we continue in an old, modern theological paradigm that views the Triune God as wholly other than, separate, from the world. We cannot live a life that is fully human, when we split off the qualities of the wild feminine who delights in the fragrances and textures of earth, full-hearted emotions, the erotic juice of life, and the dark mysteries of romance, deep longing, and dying, that are close to the Beloved's heart. We cannot live a life that is divine without being fully human, without living from our deepest wholeness.

What we understand as the divine is emergent within the natural world, what Fr. Thomas Berry called inscendence, or the depth dimension to divine transcendence, and scientist and priest Teilhard de Chardin’s understanding of the Cosmic Christ in "Hymn of the Mass on the World." This, I believe, was Erasmus' intent in his translation of Logos in the Gospel of John chapter 1 - from Greek into the latin Sermo, rather than Verbum: "In the beginning was the Conversation..."

We are in the sermon, and the living and life-giving readings come from the First Book of God, nature. We participate with the Creation rather than stand apart from it. Nature is not just physical. Nature is in our blood, our memory, our emotions, our imagination. The wild landscapes of the human soul are a part of the same nature as damp forest, still mountain lake, and red sandstone canyon walls. The message, the speech, the conversation, are not just "words" (Psalm), but the shape and trajectory of evolution itself - Life itself. If this is true, this is a full-bodied God we can know, a Deep Incarnation we can indwell and embody. "The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth" awaiting the children of God to be revealed. The children of Earth today are "groaning inwardly," "with sighs too deep for words" (Rom 8:19ff).

BlogMatt Syrdal