Spiritual Practices Easter 2020

Introduction ~ A common question that occurs when one speaks of faith or spirituality is where do you most experience God’s presence? There seems to be two predominant responses, church and nature. Even people who are drawn to a style of worship and liturgy, choral music or the energy of a band, will often add an experience of God in nature as another way they experience God’s presence. The beauty of creation is awe inspiring and over the course of history keepers of the faith have pointed us in the direction of what it means to be in relationship with God through God’s creation. What it means to be good stewards of the gift of creation. Somewhere along the way we started to objective creation, assume that creation was at our disposal in whatever way we chose to use or abuse it. Theologian Martin Buber calls this the I/it relationship, subject to object. He suggests that there is another type of relationship the I/thou relationship that sees no boundaries between the subject and the object, there is a flow. It is that flow that we feel when we are in nature, we feel the flow of God’s presence in the trees, water, wind and every living thing. Fr. Richard Rohr in his book, The Universal Christ calls creation God’s first incarnation, God’s first revealing of God’s self. Rohr draws from his Franciscan tradition to make the case that the importance of our relationship with God in creation is more than what we might assume in our impressions of the Franciscan way of Saint Francis. He maintains our relationship with God in creation is far more than the sentimentality of gazing at a birdbath or preaching to animals, it is an I/thou  relationship, a flow. If we might come around to this understanding we would treat our earth, God’s creation with far more love and care than perhaps we do. 

Earth Day will celebrate 50 years this year, a day to be mindful of our place in relationship with creation. Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin, was so moved by Rachel Carson’s book, A Silent Spring that he took the energy he witnessed in the Viet Nam war protests and turned it toward a concern for the environment. In 1990 Earth Day became a global campaign and Nelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts. Science has been a recent leader in efforts to convict us on the importance of caring for creation but the I/thou relationship with creation has been recorded in history through scripture, song, poetry and prayer. In yoga philosophy the practice of the OM, is to acknowledge the vibration of the whole earth and how we vibrate together with the earth when we practice it. Today we have a scripture and a poem/prayer that weaves together a tapestry of a relationship with God in creation. 

Breath Prayer ~ Inhale I, Exhale Thou

Psalm 8 ~ Translation Psalms Now 

O God, how full of wonder and splendor You are!

I see the reflections of Your beauty and hear the sounds of Your majesty wherever I turn

Even the babbling of babes and the laughter of children spell out Your name in indefinable syllables 

When I gaze into the star studded skies and attempt to comprehend the vast distances, I contemplate in utter amazement my Creator’s concern for me. I am dumbfounded that You should care personally for me.

And yet You have made me in Your image. You called me Your child and chosen me to be Your servant. You assigned me the fantastic responsibility of carrying on Your creative activity. 

O God, how full of wonder and splendor You are!

Brother Sun, Sister Moon ~ St. Francis of Assisi 

Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,

especially Sir Brother Sun,

Who is the day through whom You give us light.

And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,

Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,

In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,

And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,

by which You cherish all that You have made.

Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,

So useful, humble, precious and pure.

Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,

through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,

Mother Earth

who sustains and governs us,

producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.

Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.

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