Touching the Ground of Being in Creation Stories, continued

We are meditating on the revelation of the ground of being found in creation stories from various traditions. 

Traditional Hamar herbalists, Ethiopia. Photo by Rod Waddington on Flickr.

Today, the Hebrew Bible again. 

Yesterday we found that the first of humanity’s “thoughts” is not about writing books but about the uses of plants and roots. It is about food therefore and healing and beauty from the plant world. 

Wisdom teaches, for she is the Artisan of all this art and beauty that we call creation and all the creations that humans undertake, all the beauty we also birth.  “Wisdom is found in all creative works,” Hildegard of Bingen reminds us.  And Beauty is an ample name for divinity.

“Stormy Waves.” Photo by Andrew Bennett on Flickr

Another picture of Creation emerges from Psalm 33.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
their whole array by the breath of his mouth;
She collects the ocean waters as though in a wineskin
he stores the deeps in cellars.
Let the whole world fear Yahweh,
let all who live on the earth revere her!
He spoke, and it was created;
she commanded and there it stood.

Psalm 19 also sings of the wonder of Creation.

“Sunrise.” Photo by Anna on Flickr.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
the vault of heaven proclaims her handiwork;
day discourses of it to day,
night to night hands on the knowledge.
No utterance at all, no speech,
no sound that anyone can hear;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their message to the ends of the world.
High above, he pitched a tent for the sun,
who comes out of his pavilion like a bridegroom,
exulting like a hero to run his race.

Reading and hearing these psalms one feels a sense of wonder and praise.

“The Known Universe: from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang.” Video by the American Museum of Natural History

Creation does that to the human heart. It deserves our meditating on it and our efforts to name and study it. 

An ancient rabbinic teaching about Creation goes as follows:

Creation is the extension of God.
Creation is God encountered in time and space.
Creation is the infinite in the garb of the finite.

In the Book of Daniel, we read of three young men thrown into a fire by a violent king. When, with the help of an angel, they survive, they sang this song from within the flames.

“Beauty of Monsoon – When nature starts playing its games with clouds, sunshine and rain, all you can do is just try and capture a small piece of this vastness and beauty.” Photo by Yogendra Joshi on Flickr.

All things the Lord has made, bless the Lord:
Heavens! bless the Lord:
Waters above the heavens! bless the Lord:
Sun and moon! bless the Lord:
Stars of heaven! bless the Lord:
Showers and dews! All bless the Lord:
Winds! bless the Lord:
Fire and heat! bless the Lord:
Frost and cold! bless the Lord:
Ice and snow! bless the Lord:
Nights and days! bless the Lord:
Mountains and hills! bless the Lord:
Sea beasts and everything that lives in water! bless the Lord:
Birds of heaven! all bless the Lord:
Animals wild and tame! all bless the Lord.

An ecological emergency requires that we return to praise the earth and all its goings on.  “Ecology is functional cosmology” after all.  Bless the Lord!

Adapted from Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths, pp. 35-37.

Banner Image: “The Creation: Genesis – The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Image by Maurits Verbiest on Flickr.

Do you see creation as an “extension of God” and “God encountered in time and space”?  Can we build an ecological awakening on that insight?  And put an end to denial of climate change?

Recommended Reading

One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Upcoming Events

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Join Rabbi Rami Shapiro and Rev. Matthew Fox for a 1.5-day Virtual Teach-in on “Cosmic Wisdom and the Divine Feminine: Lost Insights for an Emerging World.” Friday, June 25, 4:00 PM to
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14 thoughts on “Touching the Ground of Being in Creation Stories, continued”

  1. Avatar

    Jeremiah 31:22 and 1 Kings 19:15 tell us ‘to go back the way we came.’ I don’t think the biblical writers would have imagined that one day we would be able to go back visually to the Big Bang. Thank you Matthew for showing us this path through ancient Wisdom literature and our human creation, the telescope.

  2. Avatar

    I am daily grateful for the vast richness of these Daily Meditations and Matthew Foxes’ ability to offer this awareness.

  3. Avatar

    It’s nothing less than miraculous that we can see and hear from Matthew Fox and in today’s meditation even travel to the farthest known points in the universe. So grateful for the
    Photos and videos that he shares with us each day. I share them also.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Thank you for your comment Ellen, Matthew is truly a gift to us, even as the universe itself is a gift !!!

  4. Avatar
    vicente carranza

    Maestro Fox a good morning and a bless day to you and yours. Maestro Fox I met you years ago in Corpus Christi, Tx. I have a photo (((that I can not find))) of you and me together. Maestro Fox I have a comment which is 100% true for the facts are there for people to see for them self’s. But 90% of the people of today will never believe what I am going to share.. Yahweh is not the same ‘god’ of the New Testament. And people should be fearful of Yahweh for HIS mission is not the same mission Jesus told us about of His Father. I know you will not believe me but if I reach just one person I will have done my good deed for today. Maestro Fox in closing I suggest to people not to change the ”’page”’ but start your own ”’book”’. Between 2024 and 2030 everything is going to change and the only thing that is going to save you is a REAL connection to the REAL God. Love you Sir and thank you for being here this time with all of us. Tlamatini-vicente carranza

  5. Avatar

    I remember vividly the words of the song from the book of Daniel, and the melody that we sang rushed into my heart and soul and filled me with delight; YES! “Bless the Lord, oh my soul . . . and all of creation Bless the Lord!” How utterly beautiful! And How wonderful is the video that you included! As are all of your videos! Thank you so very, very much, dear Matthew!
    I am so looking forward to hearing the first class on Hildegard! I’m on the east coast so haven’t been able to access it yet . . . Maybe at the end of this day?? Hope so . . .

  6. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Today as I think about creation as an extension of God I am filled with a sense of deep sadness. This stems from the realization of what humanity has done to creation, the many harms we have inflicted not only upon creation, but upon the extension, the many diverse expressions of God, which God continuously gives of Him/Herself. Often God is referred to as one person of the Trinity…. the word “person” pierces my heart. The suffering, the wounding, the pain humanity has caused this “person”, whom is nothing but selfless unconditional giving… sometimes fills me with a sense of shame, regarding being apart of humanity. The words, whom is God to be mindful of us …. rest there inside my aching heart.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, In reflecting on your comment, a verse of scripture has come to me. It is as follows: “For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they but we ourselves also… waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23). So all creation too is “filled with a sense of deep sadness.” More than this they are waiting for something to happen that has to do with US showing that we have been adopted into the family of God.

  7. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Richard, after reading your response I looked up the passage you referred to and I came across this commentary…which I thought I would share.
    The text from Romans 8 is unique concerning creation. Here we find a most sensitive discussion within all of scripture concerning the plight of creation. Creation is in a sorry state. It is groaning, and it groans are like that of a woman in labour. During her groaning a Mother-to-be looks forward with eager anticipation to this new birth. God cares deeply about creation. God has not abandoned it. We, the community of humanity cannot turn away from it, in favour of an apocalyptic rescue operation, ignore it, or destroy it. On the contrary, the community of humanity is bound to care for it. Our expectation of a new creation in the wisdom of God’s timing, does not negate the importance of the creation we have. We are not to escape from creation, nor the suffering of her laborious birth pains, but rather we are to affirm our common destiny with creation.

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