All of Nature Has Soul
by Rev. Richard Rohr
Meditation for Friday, February 6, 2015
“Love is a deep empathy with the other’s “Beingness.” You recognize yourself, your essence, in the other. And so you can no longer inflict suffering on the other.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Eco-spirituality allows you to start seeing your own soul imaged and given back to you in the soul of everything else, because people who have allowed their own soul to be awakened will recognize that soul in other places too! Soulless people will not see that. Once you are reconnected, it’s no longer a disenchanted universe, but in fact, quite the opposite.
If we realized we were connected, we could never have poured chemicals and pollutants into the rivers of the world. We could never have filled the earth with trash and garbage and eternal plastic and Styrofoam if we had experienced the soul of the world or if we had suffered, as the Latin poet Virgil wrote, “the tears of things.” But the material world was of no consequence to most of us. The world was just here as a backdrop while we humans tried to “get to heaven.” Please notice that the Bible ends with a promise of “a new heavens and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). The whole Earth and all of creation is participating in God’s loving redemption, liberation, and salvation. Stingy people manufactured quite a stingy God, whose love was anything but infinite, eternal, or perfect. As a result most people just lost interest. (If you doubt me, look at the dismal European and American statistics around religion.)
Our lovely theory of redemption increasingly applied to only humans, and then fewer and fewer of them. Once the scarcity model takes over, it just keeps moving! Later Christian history did not envision God saving humanity/history as a whole, but just individuals. The genius of the Hebrew Scriptures, which formed Jesus, was that God was saving Israel, history, humanity! It was very different from our much later notion of God saving isolated people here and there–because they were “nice,” and even that niceness was largely determined by the cultural and ethnic standards of each era. This was not necessarily a love of Jesus or a participation in God’s “salvation history”; it was getting Jesus to participate in our little project. We could not believe in God’s infinite victory, so we created a small victory where we could determine the outcome. We ended up with a simplistic reward/punishment contest at which very few would consider themselves even candidates for the contest.
Try reversing this oft used statement: “Jesus came to fulfill us” to “We have come to fulfill Christ.” We are each invited to offer our unique and little selves “to create a unity in the work of service and thus build up the Body” (Ephesians 4:12). We are part of a movement of the ever-growing Cosmic Christ that is coming to be in “one great big act of giving birth” (Romans 8: 22-23). In Christ, “everything is reconciled, in heaven and on Earth” (Colossians 1:17). The eternal Christ saves us all by including us all. And we are all saved, largely in spite of ourselves, by grace and mercy–no exceptions! That is the perfection of the divine victory.
So it’s not about being correct: it’s about being connected. When you are connected to the whole chain, held in the nest of being, you can easily live out of a worldview of infinite and divine abundance rather than a “not enough love to go around” model that only creates fearful, fighting, and stingy people, pushing themselves to the front of the line because they are afraid there is not enough of God to fill and free everything.
*Adapted from A New Cosmology: Nature as the First Bible
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