Wonderful

We are, in fact, worshippers on this boat. We worshiped the Mola mola this morning, and the black sea turtle, the sea lions, and birds, not to mention thirty or more different kinds of reef fish. We worshiped them be determining that they were worthy – worthy of our time, our attention, our pursuit, our availability. We worshiped them by forgetting ourselves in their presence, humbling ourselves to be benign elements of their environment.*
(Brian McLaren)

Freedom is presence, not absence.**
(M. C. Richards)

When we take ourselves away from centre-stage, wonder breaks in. We have all caught glimpses of wonder in our world, in the beautiful things we make and in each other, but when we get out of the way … oh my! Anything other than humility as a way into wonder proves to be a shortcut, and a dangerous one.

I have heard some heavy machinery nearby this morning. For more than two months this new housing site has been silent. I know there are plans to build on the field I posted a picture of on Monday and I am reminded of how easy we find it to destroy what has taken hundreds and sometimes thousands of years to create:

About the time we started to destroy the world, industriously shrinking it to the size of a theme park or a shopping mall, we started riding about worlds out in space and their alien beings and ways.^

More than a starship, Brian McLaren’s suggests we need worship – worth-ship – to help us into humility and into, connecting with some words I read this morning from M. C. Richards; she begins:

Man has many hungers. But they all seem to me to be versions of a twofold one: hunger for freedom, and hunger for union, a dance of each individuality with the world.**

These aspirations, Richards admits, are fallen or sick, producing ugliness, but, she says, we also aspire to wellness:

And we redeem them, not by wrestling with them and managing them, for we have not the wisdom nor the strength to do that, but by letting the light to shine upon them. And where does this light come from? It seems to shine in all created things, but in our sickness we are often opaque to it. It is our task to make ourselves permeable to light by yielding ourselves up to it.**

This is what McLaren is opening himself to as he explores the creatures of the Galapagos Islands. Our humility, taking the human from centre-stage, allows the light to make us well, for nature to heal us and centre us. It’s all around us: the sky, the birds, the trees, even the grass of a field:

Wonder.

Wonderful.

(*From Brian McLaren’s God Unbound.)
(**From M. C. Richards’ Centering.)
(^From Ursula Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter.)

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