Someone once helped me to express my belief in God by using the creation as a pathway to that belief. We sometimes know people not simply by what we experience of them, but by what we experience of what they create. One of the things I know about Kai is that he has a natural and gifted characteristic of playfulness. One can see this by noticing the 12 foot sapling-stick he loves to trim and play with in the back yard. He runs around the yard with a stick three times his length as “We are the champions” plays majestically, if imaginarily, in the background. He leaves clues to his character by what he manifests. And playfulness is one thing Kai manifests.
Yesterday, on a hike, I snapped this photo of what Gd manifests. Like the stick Kai leaves as an icon, God seemed to leave this view. As my eyes wandered the reds, ochers, purples, lavenders, yellows, greys – not to mention the contours of the land and the smell of the desert air, I was reminded of my friend’s description of his belief in God. He said “When I see God’s creation and wonder at its beauty, I am aware that this planet, and the life on it, is created. The likelihood of this being an accident is about as likely as a hurricane whipping through a junkyard and leaving behind a polished, running vintage car with the radio playing Gershwin.”
The notion that no higher power exists is, to my mind preposterous. And the notion that planetary life does not engage and co-manifest with God is equally preposterous.
At the end of a retreat, a view like this one is like the final burst of light from the end of a fire-works display when the ignighter lets fly with all his best fireworks in rapid succession. But what this view reminds me is that I believe in God, not the church, and that I am a Christian long before I am an Anglican or Episcopalian.
But most of all, this view reminds me that the glory and majesty of God’s creation, which I can so clearly see in this view of a portion of our planet, is equally visible in the humans I encounter every day. The people I fly by as I run around in self-importance – the people I ignore because I am busy – the people I consciously or subconsciously discount because of racism, ablism, mentalism or mindfullism (a word I have coined for prejudice against the perceived unmindful)- the people I let talk while I am rehearsing my response – these people are the great gift to my life and I want to be as in awe of the people I meet along the path as I am of the views I meet along the path.
A retreat is a time to enter into eros with God and be reminded of how we met, when we first kissed, what we love about each other, what milestones we have met together and what we long for together. I am in the “for better or for worse” phase of my priesthood, but I am still on the honeymoon with my faith-journey. Having space in which to see that fuels my vocation, rejuvenates my work and soothes my soul.