Monday, April 25, 2011

Mini Homily

Think of the last time you read the Creation story in Genesis. Did it blow your mind and leave you panting for a glimpse of this world? Did you yearn to put your hands in the dirt and feel what God put there? Did you find yourself wanting to lie down in a garden so you could smell God?

The last time I read the Creation story, I found myself unimpressed. It’s all that redundancy, really, that causes my eyes to glaze over: “And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.” It all seems so effortless, like God is pointing at products in a Pier 1 catalogue to furnish his living room.

God, we find ourselves unimpressed with the way you describe the furnishings of your world: vegetation, birds, wild animals—God show us the platypus! Show us the redwoods and the panther and the Pacific Ocean. Show us the gladiolus; lift it to our noses. The hawk, God, show us the hawk; we will study it and praise you. The colors must have been vibrant, and the textures! How did the world feel leaving your fingertips? What tasks did you delegate to Jesus? Did the Spirit scatter seeds and feed the animals? Tell us, God, impress us! Show us the hawk.

But there is nothing wrong with God’s imagination.

There is something wrong with our imagination.

Have we lost our ability to wonder? Can our eyes see that the world is soaked with God? Loss of astonishment is not a new phenomenon—St. Basil the Great wrote in the 4th century: “I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you the clear remembrance of the Creator…One blade of grass or one speck of dust is enough to occupy your entire mind in beholding the art with which it has been made.”

There is something wrong with our imagination. God is not picking out the world from a catalogue—trees are not products; chickens are not products; nitrogen is not a product. Rather, God imagined the earth, and it was so, and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, every day.

God says: “Go outside, and within you I will cultivate astonishment. I only ask that you learn to see.”

1 comment:

  1. when I can read words on a screen or a page and my mind begins to salivate at the beauty of commas and periods prepositions...I lift my glass in thanksgiving--cheers! Cheers to the rediscovery and restoration of imagination; cheers to humanity beginning to dream again as God dreams. Cheers to the rhythm of life God has put into creation--cheers to the evening, to the morning, and to all that God calls 'very good.'