Human becomings

Daily Reading for June 22 • The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Desmond Tutu of Capetown observed recently that “God is continually breathing into our nostrils.” It is a vivid way of expressing the fact that not only is our life the creation of God, but that every moment of our life is also sustained by God. We are not only made. We continue to be made. It is possible to say that we are not so much human “beings” as human “becomings.”

[The collect for this day] begins, “O Lord, make us. . . .” It is so easy to leave those four words behind, so easy to hurry on to the seemingly more significant words that immediately follow. But we would be wrong to do so. Instead, it is very much worth our while to stop and reflect on the fact that God not only has made us, but continually makes us. . . .

In what sense does God make us? We are most aware of being made physically. . . .As we learn to see life more in terms of the whole, we come to perceive it as a great web of being. We realize we are being made in every way—physically, mentally, psychologically, spiritually.

The reason it is so important for us to realize this is that only then can we open all the elements of our lives to God. Western culture has so thoroughly divided up reality that we have lost a sense of the whole being through which God’s grace is manifested. Our physical exercise, our eating habits, our sexuality, our thinking—all these can become as spiritual an activity as receiving the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Our reading, our use of television or movies, our education, and our job can all be channels for God. Our concern for self-development and the development of others around us, our fostering of relationships, all this energy in our lives can be understood as the process of God’s making of us. Thus our spirituality does not float around on the margin of our lives, but every activity is the stuff of spirituality. To achieve this realization is to become a man or woman made by and for God, a truly whole human being.

From Prayers for the Breaking of Bread: Meditations on the Collects of the Church Year by Herbert O’Driscoll (Cowley Publications, 1991).

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