It is Very Good

“God saw everything that [God] had made, and indeed, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

Dear Friends in Christ,

Happy Resurrection season! I am witnessing signs of resurrection all around me—daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths; foxes forming new dens; and birdsong chattering through the trees. I also experience such resurrection in one of the most life-giving times of my ministry here, the Women’s Bible Study. Last week, as we were conversing about all the ways we encounter our God in this life, one friend said, “All I have to do is look outside, is witness nature, and there I see God.”

Often this has been my experience of God, witnessing the holy in creation. Nature teaches us that new life is possible. Darkness and death are not the final word; hope springs eternal. I have learned about both the comfort and discomfort of the Holy Spirit in the wind that showed up on the day of Pentecost. It is a wind like that sweet summer breeze which drifted through the trees of my background the day after I moved to Pennsylvania. It reminded me of the Spirit’s constant presence. It is a wind like the Tahoe blizzard that blew in over the water, almost sweeping me off my feet, reminding me there were hard times ahead as I discerned a divorce, but I would not be alone through that process.

Christian theologians have reminded me that we are fully interconnected to God and encounter God in creation. We may try to separate ourselves from the created order; however, we are wholly a part of this “fragile earth, our island home” (The Book of Common Prayer p. 370). Paraphrasing Celtic theologian John Scotus Eriugena (c.800-c.877), he encourages us not only to read the “little book” that is the Bible, but also the “big book,” that is the expanse of all creation. God reveals Godself not solely through Holy Scripture, but also through the holiness of the world God has created. If you’re interested in a further introduction to Celtic theology, please consider any of the books written by John Philip Newell.

Even the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached on such interconnectedness in his last Christmas sermon. He wrote: It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Dr. King showed up and spoke at the first action of the environmental justice movement in this country: the Memphis Sanitation Strike in 1968. This organizing is why he was in that particular city when he was shot and killed, 56 years ago yesterday, on April 4, 1968. King knew, as so many of us disciples of Jesus do, that we are fully a part of God’s creation. We are one piece of a cosmic whole. All of what we see, witness, and experience is God showing up because God said: “it was very good,” when God fashioned every rock, and tree, and creature.

So, this Eastertide, this season of resurrection, I invite you to celebrate creation with me. I invite you to lean into how God is working in our wider world. I invite you to hear a word from our Creation Care guest preacher, Brian Sellers-Petersen, on April 14, at 9:15 a.m. in the Chapel and at 5 p.m. for an outdoor service in the Arboretum (with potluck to follow). I invite you to craft Resurrection Gardens with old and young friends alike on April 21. I invite you to read the wisdom of Robin Wall Kimmerer in her work, Braiding Sweetgrass. I invite you to consider how God is still speaking through creation and calling us to act in a way that loves all that our God has made.

God’s abundant peace and steadfast love,

Sarah+
The Rev. Sarah Dunn
Associate Rector