Spirituality of Creation

  • blogpic Embracing Darkness and the Solar EclipseIt was a thrilling moment to view the total solar eclipse from the stairs off the deck in my own backyard. With my special viewing glasses, I looked up at the sun at 1:18 PM Central Standard Time, and saw total darkness. This moment of mid-day night didn’t last very long, reminding me of John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” When Jesus was crucified, the daylight turned to darkness, but like this eclipse, the darkness did not overcome God’s power to save and bring life and light where there was once only death.

    Isn’t it amazing how God uses the creation to reinforce and remind us of eternal truths—the darkness is momentary while God’s love and light are constant and eternal; the caterpillar enters the pupa of apparent death and emerges in a bodily transformation and resurrection; the seed falls to the ground and dies and yet it rises again to bear much fruit; our energy—whether in daily life or healing from a trauma—ebbs and flows like the tide, waxes and wanes like the moon, moves forward and inches back before surging forward again, like a flower reaching for the sun.

    It’s easy to forget that in the darkness, in the resting, in the letting go, God does her best work! That is when God is working out something new in us—and God must do it in secret, during the “dark night of the soul” because if we knew what God was up to, we would grab control of the process, and manipulate the outcome! 

    The eclipse reminds us to linger in the darkness, to savor the silence, to embrace the shadow—for the light is coming, the resurrection is afoot, transformation is unfolding, for God is working in secret and in silence to create us anew. Hold fast to the promise and patterns of God, for the dawn always follows the night.

    Photo Credit: Rick Fienberg, exlipse.aas.org

  • blogpic heronI watched a great blue heron in the creek behind our house yesterday. It was fun to watch her movements through the water, the S-shaped curve of her long neck that straightened out as she stood still, the bending and peering into the water as she watched for minnows that might serve as breakfast. She acted completely like a heron—not an egret or an owl, not a squirrel or a snake. She behaved exactly as she was created, carrying out her morning routine with the surety of creatures oblivious to any possibility that they could be other than what they are.

    The heron was also oblivious to the spiritual lesson she taught as I watched her from my kitchen—the practice of self-acceptance. While I wouldn’t give up the self-reflective consciousness that separates humankind from the rest of the creatures on our planet, it does come with its own traps of self-doubt, self-absorption, comparing ourselves to others, and needless suffering when we question the worth of our existence. I do seek to continually grow and mature as a person, which can be propelled by experiencing some of the afore-mentioned traps, but the gift of the heron was to bring me back to simple truths. I am created by a loving God to be who I am, not someone else; I am saved by this same God through Jesus Christ, who’s love redeems my brokenness and blesses me with the Spirit who makes me so much more than I can be on my own. It’s beautiful to behold any of God’s creatures who live with that kind of acceptance and grace.