“Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the splendor of creation, in the beauty of human life. Touched by your hand our world is holy. Help us to cherish the gifts that surround us, to share your blessings with our sisters and our brothers and experience the joy of life in your presence.”
Having spent a week walking, hiking and driving through God’s awesome, mysterious creation. This was the opening prayer of the Mass I attended that weekend. Wow, that prayer really said something to me. It spoke to me exactly where I was at. It brought to mind, again, the wonder-full, awe-full moments of my week’s journey. It did, as liturgy is supposed to do, connect deeply with my week’s experience. As I joined in the celebration, I was bringing that experience into the gathering of the community. Prayer is sometimes described as “the outward expression of inward faith”. In the above prayer, I found I was given, I was presented with, a summary of my ever new evolving belief in the wonder-fullness and the awe-fullness that is to be found in the cathedral of the great outdoors. My attendance at liturgy that weekend intensified my experience of what was my daily living.
With the community I prayed “open our eyes to see your hand at work in the splendor of creation”. To me it is expressing the belief that right now God is at work at this moment in all of creation. We can see that our world has been created but do we always accept the fact that it is also being created? Our world has been shaped and is being shaped. We too, as human beings, are created but in each moment of every day we are being recreated anew. Humanity and creation are in the process of being perfected. We have a long way to go, obviously, but the process is in place and will not be derailed or denied.
That is the great source of hope for us as we face these troubled times.
Chardin in his wonderful essay entitled, The Mass on the World, has this wonderful prayer:
“I pray, lay on us those your hands-powerful, considerate, omnipresent,
those hands which do not [like our human hands]
Touch now here, there.
But, which plunge into the depths of the totality, present and past, of things so as to reach us simultaneously through all that is most immense and most inward within us and around us.”
The creative spirit of God is at work in our world. We have been invited to be “co-creators and co-perfectors of His universe”. A universe which we have been invited to be stewards of. It is not our business to possess. We will not take any of it’s materials with us. As Billy Graham once said, “there is no Uhaul behind a hearse”. Each one of us is here for a time to add our own unique shade, and color to the tapestry of creation. The more we in tune with the Creator, the more effective we are going to be as co-creators with Him. The more we appreciate our God-given talents as gifts to be gifted in the concrete circumstances in which we find ourselves, always in the here and now. We have been gifted with a great responsibility of being good stewards of all the Creators gifts.
I am so impressed at how Native Americans see themselves as stewards of all the gifts of creation, keeping in mind those who are to follow. There is one tribe when it makes a decision it asks the question, “how will this effect five generations from now”. The wonderful reverence they show for all of creation and not some of creation is awe inspiring. On the other hand, it is so heart-breaking to see how far we have come from the ideal, what a price we are paying. I still carry with me the image of the Native American looking at all the garbage strewn about and a tear comes to his eye. We are being awakened to the reality that we cannot continue to treat nature the way we have been and not have to suffer the consequences. How glibly we can say, when someone gets cancer, a baby is born deformed, a minor has a black lung, “it is God’s will”. We are making God the great scapegoat. It is not His will. It is just ignoring what His will for His creation is . It is not “God’s will” to pollute streams, rivers, underground water supply with toxins that bring disease, suffering, pain, tragedy and torment. The god that was responsible for all of this we got rid of a long time ago [The God I Don’t Believe in Anymore]. It is on the other hand, good business to keep him around and well. Having that god and keeping him around sure adds to the bottom line of companies, while all the time, so many innocent men, women and children find their lives have bottomed out in the prison of powerlessness. God’s hand is at work in our world and has has called each one of us, from all of eternity, to be His hands, His arms, His eyes, His legs, His ears, He has called us to be His galvanizing presence to stop the destruction and start the reconstruction. To forge a newer and better understanding of all of what His creation means. To deepen our understanding of His plan, not the plans of those whose self interest is greed, profit, and gain. And, to heck with the consequences.
I would like to end this with these quotations from John Muir,
“Climb the mountains and get there good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.”
It is also good to remember the famous words of Henry David Thoreau,
“In wilderness is the preservation of the world”.
A dreamer’s journey continues….