Over the past three weeks the imagery contained within the Gospel readings from the lectionary have all centered around the natural world in themes of planting, harvesting, gathering, etc. The use of themes from nature for storytelling has always appealed to me, and when it comes to matters of the spirit, it also make things more palatable. Coming from an earth-centered spiritual background before becoming Episcopalian, being told that faith is like a mustard seed, or likening the kingdom of God to the sowing of a field, makes those things feel more real to me. I can think deep and lofty thoughts all day long, I can muse on the meaning of life and death in my head for hours, but sometimes I just have to feel the dirt under my fingernails in order to feel the spirit move within me.
I sincerely believe that there is no separation between the sacred world and the physical world. I have never bought into the notion that animals have no souls; that other living organisms are things we are free to abuse and discard; that our bodies are inherently evil, and as a consequence our own existence is one hopelessly mired in sin. Nature is my holy place; it is where I go to meet God, where I can be in the Divine’s presence, and certainly nothing profane can exist where God is.
If God can be felt on a mountain, in the presence of animals, lying in a field, etc., then it would make sense that there is in fact a piece of God imbued there. There are locations on this planet which feel inherently sacred, “thin” places where God’s presence is detected far more readily. That isn’t because a church or temple was built there, it is simply the very nature of the location which lends itself to finding that Divine connection more easily. For the spiritually inclined, these are miraculous places to experience and spend time in.
Our entire planet is one massive interconnected living organism, and the sacred energy runs throughout like the blood runs through our very veins. So much of our own anatomy can be seen reflected back to us in the world: just look at the rivers and root systems, the branches of trees, all mirroring the same life-giving structures that lie under our own skin. If you believe that we were created in God’s own image, then surely that same blueprint was used for our planet. Just as the Divine nurtures our souls, our Earth nurtures our bodies. The same respect and reverence the faithful show towards the man-made structures of The Church is also owed to the planet.
Love the Earth as you would the Divine, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. God dwells within his holy temple, and that temple is Earth.
+ K +