True spirituality begins where the Bible begins—with the universe, with creation, with all that exists. Not with the human alone but within a larger context. With cosmology therefore and how we got here and where here is and how we are to fit in and play out our modest role in the drama of the cosmos and its history.
This is one reason we are meditating on creation stories at this time. Hoping to learn and deepen our understanding and implementation of creation spirituality in a time of climate emergency.
The indigenous peoples of the Americas take for granted the sacredness of all of Creation and how humanity relating to Creation is humanity facing the powers of Spirit and the Creator. Jamake Highwater writes:
The American Indian has an entirely different view of humanity and nature from that of the Greek heritage. For primal peoples, because the landscape itself is sacred it therefore embodies a divinity that it shares with everything that is part of nature, including human beings, animals, plants, rocks… everything.
Do humans see ourselves as part of nature? Or as its masters? Or plunderers? The inherent sacredness of creation is attested to by Black Elk who says:
We regard all created beings as sacred and important, for everything has a wochangi, or influence, which can be given to us, through which we may gain a little more understanding if we are attentive.
We should understand well that all things are the work of the Great Spirit. We should know that he is within all things; the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains and all the four-legged animals, and the winged peoples; and even more important, we should understand that he is also above all these things and peoples.
Notice how revelation or understanding flow to humans from all beings when humans pay attention. Humans need this relationship with creation to find true peace and the center of their existence, Black Elk insists.
Peace comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan-Tanka [the Great Spirit], and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
Given the intrinsic value and divine presence to be found in Creation, the demise of Creation’s health and beauty represents an immense spiritual plight. An Old Omaha elder remembers his youth:
When I walked abroad I could see many forms of life, beautiful living creatures which Wakanda had placed here; and these were, after their manner, walking, flying, leaping, running playing all about.
But changes have taken place.
Now the face of all the land is changed and sad. The living creatures are gone. I see the land desolate and I suffer an unspeakable sadness. Sometimes I wake in the night and I feel as though I should suffocate from the pressure of this awful feeling of loneliness.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faith Traditions, pp. 48f.
Banner Image: 2013 Tar Sands Healing Walk: First Nations, Metis, Inuit, environmental groups, and Watershed citizens working together for the treaty rights to protection of water, land and air, and thus for all living things today and tomorrow in the Athabasca River Watershed. Photo by Laura Whitney on Wikimedia Commons.
Do you feel a growing sadness at the desolation of the Earth? How can we convert that sadness to effective action and healing medicine?
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
Join Matthew Fox for a thought-provoking 7-week course: Answer the Call for an Uncommon Life Through the Mystical Teachings of St. Hildegard, Tuesdays, 6/15 to 7/27. While the course has begun, registration remains open, with recordings of past classes available. Learn more HERE.
Join us for a Virtual Teach-in with Isa Gucciardi and Matthew Fox, hosted by Rev. Cameron Trimble.
August 13-14, 2021 (Fri-Sat)
Shamanism in Buddhism and Christianity
Session 1: Friday, August 13 at 4pm-6pm PT
Session 2: Saturday, August 14 at 9am-12pm PT
Session 3: Saturday, August 14 at 12:30pm-2:30pm PT