Daily Reading for June 19

Recognizing our origins in earth and in God prepares the ground for our understanding of our place on this planet. It saves us from the terrible hubris, or pride, which is the source of so much of our destructiveness. When we feel disconnected from our bodies, from our earthiness, we are also disconnected from the rest of creation. But once we fully experience our own creatureliness, we can discover new pleasure in God’s other creatures—animal, mineral, and vegetable. We will care about them because they are our extended family, sharing with us the molecules that make up adamah.

When we feel disconnected from God, from ruach or “spirit,” we are disconnected from the very source of our being. How often we let other kinds of breath fill us—the breath of selfishness, acquisitiveness, power, greed—so that we fall prey to a kind of spiritual and moral “breathlessness.” Once we begin to allow God’s breath to fill us, we will find we are more human, not less so. My favorite second-century theologian, Irenaeus of Lyons, who said, “The glory of God is the human being fully alive,” would have enjoyed looking over his compatriot’s shoulder as Rodin chiseled the Hand of God.

One of humanity’s most destructive misconceptions is that, since we consider ourselves the apex of creation, we are therefore separated from nature. The Judeo-Christian tradition, in its attentiveness to another verse of Genesis—“have dominion…over every living thing that moves upon the earth”—to the neglect of the wisdom contained in Genesis 2:7, has much to answer for.

We can no more be happy separated from nature than we can be happy separated from God. When we acknowledge our place on earth and celebrate our unity in God with the creation that surrounds us, we take our place in the community composed of all living things, and it feels like a homecoming.

From Organic Prayer: A Spiritual Gardening Companion by Nancy Roth. Copyright © 1993, 2007. From Seabury Books, an imprint of Church Publishing. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY. www.churchpublishing.org

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