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All Creation Has Soul

Nature, Cosmos, and Connection

All Creation Has Soul
Sunday, February 14, 2021

Nature itself was the first Bible. Before there was the written Bible, there was the Bible in things that are made. This creation starts with being very good (Genesis 1:31). We come to God through things as they are; spirituality is about sinking back into the Source of everything. We’re already there, but we have too little practice seeing ourselves there. God, in Christ, is in all, and through all, and with all (see 1 Corinthians 15:28; Colossians 3:11). We call this the Universal Christ or another name for every thing—in its fullness.

A spirituality of the Universal Christ is at the same time a creation spirituality. It allows you to start seeing your own soul imaged and given back to you in the soul of everything else. All of creation has soul! The Latin word for soul is anima, which became animal in English. This earth is participating in the mystery of redemption, liberation, and salvation. The whole creation is groaning in one great act of giving birth (see Romans 8:22). The whole thing is being reborn, re-covenanted, and realigned. Instead of seeing natural things as merely objects to be used, we must allow nature to enchant us.

This week we will be featuring authors of color, people who, like Jesus, see God in everything. Howard Thurman (1900–1981), the Black mystic, theologian, and spiritual guide for Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, shares his early experiences of God:

The true purpose of all spiritual disciplines is to clear away whatever may block our awareness of that which is God in us. . . .

It will be in order to suggest certain simple aids to this end. One of these is the practice of silence, or quiet. As a child I was accustomed to spend many hours alone in my rowboat, fishing along the river, when there was no sound save the lapping of the waves against the boat. There were times when it seemed as if the earth and the river and the sky and I were one beat of the same pulse. It was a time of watching and waiting for what I did not know—yet I always knew. There would come a moment when beyond the single pulse beat there was a sense of Presence which seemed always to speak to me. My response to the sense of Presence always had the quality of personal communion. There was no voice. There was no image. There was no vision. There was God. [1]

As G. K. Chesterton observed, “A religion is not the church [one] goes to, but the cosmos [one] lives in.” [2] Once we know that the entire physical world around us, all of creation, is both the hiding place and the revelation place for God, this world becomes home, safe, enchanted, offering grace to any who look deeply. I call that kind of deep and calm seeing “contemplation.”

References:
[1] Howard Thurman, Disciplines of the Spirit (Harper and Row: 1963), 96.

[2] G. K. Chesterton, Irish Impressions (John Lane Company: 1919), 215.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 5, 6–7; and

The New Cosmology: Nature as the First Bible (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2009), CD, MP3 download.

Story from Our Community:
During this time of having lost so much of our regular activity, we have ironically gained so much by focusing on what really matters—our relationship with the Creator. This relationship for me is through everything that is created and everything we experience, including looking into the cosmos where we ALL belong. —Jim H.

Image credit: Warren K. Leffler, Demonstrators sit, with their feet in the Reflecting Pool, during the March on Washington, 1963 (detail), photograph, public domain.
Image inspiration:  When we look at nature do we think of the cosmos? When we look at the cosmos does it bring nature to mind? We are intimately connected on micro and macro scales beyond our human capacity to understand. We sit together to rest our feet, in the midst of nature, cosmos and great shifts in consciousness.
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