The World I Live In!

By Stephen Nash

Over the centuries Christians have reflected on the energy and force behind all life. Often more theologically rather than in a practical sense. The thinking has enabled us to see God as Trinity and as one who embodies love in a communion of Beings that existed before time and space. The love of God naturally reaching outward to create new life. Some of our forebears like St Bonaventure, St Francis, St Ignatius understood the natural world as a means to know God. More recently, Teilhard de Chardin called the earth’s beginning, what others have called the Big Bang, the “Great flaring forth of love.” The history of divine blessing is recorded in creation accounts like Genesis 1:12 and John 1:3, revealing the Creator’s presence in all things.

If we open our eyes, God’s immense love for us is right there in front of us. Our sometimes-flawed response to God’s gifts does not diminished this reality. The earth, as the source of life, can open us up to an ever deeper connection to God’s presence. Humans are sacred beings who come from the earth and are not merely temporary residents awaiting heaven. This bond with the earth can prompt a genuine intimacy with the creator. Our bodies, made from the same material as the soil, have cycled through the earth over millions of years. Each human is a unique whole, spirit and matter united, intricately woven into the web of life. God’s love permeates every fibre of our world, making life a precious gift.

This Christian understanding that the universe began through the Word, and Jesus, embodying that Word, aimed to save and heal the world, is one worth our contemplation. Embracing nature honors our sacred origins and reveals God’s compassion and love within us. Living in harmony with Earth fulfills our mission to embody love, gratitude, and reverence for the world’s beauty and mystery. Nature inspires wonder and awe, fostering curiosity, personal growth, humility, and selflessness. This appreciation encourages cooperation, collaboration, and gratitude. Mountains, for instance, invite contemplation and meditation as they stand in constant prayer. Engaging with nature brings us closer to the divine, revealing God’s presence everywhere and inviting us to a more profound kind of prayer.

In his 2015 encyclical Pope Francis talks about the earth itself which he now considers one with the other poor of the world. The pope talks about how the world suffers and that the “Cry of the Earth” highlights the urgent and desperate state of our planet. It calls for attention to the environmental degradation and ecological crisis to which humanity has contributed. The physical world is now being asked to travel the way of the cross with Jesus. We are being invited to be in solidarity with the earth, to befriend brothers Wind and Air, Sisters Water and Mother Earth (St Francis Prayer) and the creatures of the world. Committing to the Common Good is to embrace the whole.

The world once exploded into chaos, wonder, confusion, and awe, and it will rise again. We are all responsible for continuing the universe’s trajectory of love by becoming our true selves, living harmoniously with its processes, and fostering relationships with all beings – we are Christ’s arms, hands, and legs. This means promoting Earth’s health, avoiding harm, and deepening our oneness with Love in everything. Standing on the earth, I owe my existence to evolutionary processes and those before me. I am not only subject to such processes but I am part of the land’s ecosystems, dependent on ecological sustainability. We must live in harmony, foster relationships, and deepen our connection with Love in all existence.

The Creator God’s fingerprints are evident throughout the universe and the world. A disposition of awe enables us to observe and let it amaze us letting it take centre stage. It nurtures humility and selflessness, allowing us to fully embrace our humanity, helping us to appreciate the unique worth and value of things. Let us join the meditation of our mountains, standing in prayer by being our best selves, making our contribution as a way to honour the divine presence everywhere.