Christ in the Green Places


This morning, out in my secret place, I was reading my new favorite book with which to start the day. Celtic Devotions, by Calvin Miller.

How apt on this lovely morning, when the breeze is soft and the birds are everywhere trilling and courting, that I should open to Day Eight, "Lord of All Nature." I love this little opening reflection, as well as one of the readings, and want to share them with you...

The Celts rarely separated the Christ of theology from the poetry of "Fairest Lord Jesus." He was their praise, ruler of all nature. Christ doesn't just lord over the natural world. He inhabits it. This is not to cozy up to any Eastern views that Christ is one with the elements of his world, but Jesus related to all life that he created. It is as Saint Francis taught: the sparrows were his sisters, the sun his brother. He pervades the world so completely a butterfly may bear witness to the incarnation, and a beetle may extol the crucifixion. All creation with a single voice celebrates the creator Christ.

Reading: Early Middle Welsh Prayer

May the three springs praise you,
Two higher than the wind and one above the earth,
May darkness and light praise you,
May the cedar and sweet fruit-tree praise you....
May the birds and the bees praise you,
May the stubble and the grass praise you,
Aaron and Moses praised you,
May male and female priase you,
May the seven days and the stars praise you,
May the lower air and the upper air praise you....

Mint in the Garden photo, by L.L. Barkat.

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Wordless Wednesday: Natural Art

KNM-Sara wrapped rock

Sara's "Rock Wrapped With Leaves."

KNM-Lydia's hands

Lydia's hands, pressing water into construction paper.

KNM-Michaela's flower

Michaela's "Flower" pressed onto window so light shows through.

KNM-Elsa's Pink

Elsa's "Pink at the Window"

KNM-Sara Silver

Sara's "Dandelions Floating in Silver Bowl"

KNM-Sonia floral

Sonia's "Floating in Floral Bowl".

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Six Random Things

Even Split Tree

Thanks to Michelle and Gina for tagging me to share six random things. The perfect tag, really, for a blogger who never keeps in step with meme themes!

1. I like even numbers. Six (as in "six random things") is an even number. Therefore I like the number six. If we were sharing a plate of chocolate chip cookies (oh could we?), you'd get three and I'd get three. Even split.

2. The word eventually actually includes the word even, which is kind of cool when you consider that, when it comes to memes, I always eventually get 'round to them. (It's been a while, hasn't it Michelle? Sorry!)

3. Eventide (linguistic roots in Middle English) is a cool word. Not only because it sports the word even in its confines, but also because it makes me feel a sense of something beautiful on the horizon. The way velvet night promises stars after the sun goes down.

4. The name Steven reminds me of St. Even. Which is kind of comforting. If even Even could be a saint, perhaps I could be one too.

5. Eleven. The word El means god or God in Hebrew. Interesting that the El of the bible is not even. God is odd; three in one. Not a single even number in sight. I have to think about the implications of that for someone like me, who as I said before likes even numbers.

6. Even Dogs Can Have Blogs. This too is a comfort. If Max can run a successful blog, maybe I can even run one too.

Okay, that's it. Six random things. Well, sort of random. If you count random things around a single, simple theme like even as random!

Play or not now: Andrea, Christianne, Ann, Llama Mama, Craver, Brandon. That's six. I even counted.

Even Split Tree photo, by Sara. Used with permission.

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Retreat to Appreciate

Laity Lodge White Montage

On reading Our Father's World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation, I found this quote which sums up, in a way, part of the reason for this blog: appreciating and celebrating God's artistry in Creation. It says...

"We need to spend time learning about what we want to save. Whether it's the creatures in the woodland that borders a city park or the birds that visit on their annual pilgrimages north or south... [w]hat we don't know, we can't appreciate. What we don't appreciate, we won't care about. What we don't care about, we won't try to fix or save." (p.150)

In the past year I've concentrated on getting to know and appreciate my own back yard. I'm even going to write about how retreating to a small space outside each day took me on an unexpected spiritual journey.

As I prepare to write about that, I consider that there are many beautiful places in the United States that need to be understood and appreciated— places we can retreat to, not just for our own solace and growth, but also for the sake of drawing near to God's concern for his creation. A part of me sorely wishes I could take one of these opportunities, for instance, offered by the people at Laity Lodge. After all, I've never been to Texas.

If I can't go, maybe you can. Who knows. Maybe it is just the place you need to retreat to, in order to meet God and spend time with his lovely creation. This offer to win might send you on a journey of celebration, a retreat into the heart of God's creative beauty.

Picture 2

Photos of Laity Lodge provided by Laity Lodge. Retreat Logo and Banner design by L.L. Barkat. If you want to join the High Calling Blogs group writing project and share your thoughts about the issue of "retreat", alert Mark Goodyear and link to Chris Cree where all posts on this theme will be featured.


LL's Journeys
Kathy's poignant Only the Strong Retreat and Surrender
Carl's enchanting and profound Sacred Ingress
Gordon's lull-you-into-longing A Listening Prayer

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