Painting by Justin Denton
I have always loved nature and felt a connection to the earth. When I spend time outside, I feel more alive and often sense an attitude of reverence within. In the last ten years or more that connection has deepened and grown in me. I experience God's presence in nature more then any other place. I have recognized the relationship that I have with the earth in a new way.
I am reading a book The Dream of the Earth by Thomas Berry. Thomas Berry is one of the leading environmental thinkers in North America. He is described on the back cover of this book as:
"a cultural historian who provides nothing less than a new intellectual-ethical framework for the human community by positing planetary well-being as the measure of all human activity. Drawing on the wisdom of Western philosophy, Asian thought, Native American traditions as well as contemporary physics and evolutionary biology, Berry offers a new perspective that recasts our understanding of science, technology, politics and religion, ecology and education. He shows us why it is important for us to respond to the Earth's need for planetary renewal, and what we must do to break free of the technological trance that guides a misguided dream of progress. Only then, he suggests, can we foster mutually human-Earth relationships that can heal our traumatized global bio-system".
My first introduction to Thomas Berry was at a retreat that my husband, Jim and I attended a few years ago. The retreat was a combination of the works of Thomas Berry and Thomas Merton. We already revered Thomas Merton but were unfamiliar with Thomas Berry. It was a wonderful and informative retreat. This past year we also attended a viewing of a film made about a book Berry co-authored with Brian Swimme called The Universe Story. We loved the film.
About eight months ago I purchased The Green Bible New Testament and I am enjoying it. Even before scripture begins there are all these wonderful quotes from many different men and women throughout the centuries about spirituality and nature. A few of my favorite quotes are these:
Wherever I turn my eyes, around on Earth or to the heavens
I see You in the field of star
I see You in the yield of land
In every breath and sound, a blade of grass, a simple flower
An echo of Your holy Name. ~ Abraham ibn Ezra (1092-1167
We shall awaken from our dullness and rise vigorously toward justice. If we fall in love with creation deeper and deeper, we will respond to its endangerment with passion. ~ Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
If I spend enough time with the tiniest creature--even a caterpillar--I would never have to prepare a sermon. So full of God is every creature. Meister Eckhart (ca.1260-1327)
God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. ~ Martin Luther (1483-1546)
There is a lot to be learned here and applied. I am in the process of doing both. In the meantime, I am so grateful for this beautiful earth. Here is a little video meditation I did recently. Thank you for dropping by! Peace, Jeanne Leigh