Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Word of God

It's Sunday, so scriptural reflections seem appropriate...esp. since I did my prayer in the garden this morning instead of seeking out a human fellowship.

Some people refer to the Bible as "the Word of God". There's a logical inconsistency here, for me. Because John--in the Bible!--refers to the Word of God as something FAR more than holy scripture. This is not to minimize the centrality of the Bible to my understanding of God, but to place it in what for me is its proper perspective, as one of many manifestations of the Word of God. One entry in the Wikipedia that is the entirety of God's Word, subject to change without notice, somehow at the same time comprehensive and incomplete. It contains everything--yet it is infinite.

John 1:1--"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." Um, that was BEFORE God made Adam with the opposable thumbs to hold a pencil to transcribe the Old Testament.....

John 1:14--"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." Written words are alive to me, and books, including the Bible, have certainly dwelled among me all my life (or vice versa) but I can hardly call them "flesh."

"Flesh", to me connotes something alive, changing, either growing or decaying which is really just a different dimension of growth, the transubstantiation of one life form into others.

A year and a half ago, early November found me abiding for awhile in a lovely cabin in the woods at Cedars of Peace, the retreat center at the Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky (; that's my cabin in the third photo!). Every morning, I ate my breakfast in the armchair in front of the picture window overlooking the ravine. A family of deer--evidently a doe and two nearly-grown fawns--ate their breakfast on the other side of the window. It was interesting to watch their interactions with one another, their little motions of browsing, chewing cud, listening. I understood much of their "body language" from my long intimacy with sheep, who speak a different dialect of the same "ruminant prey animal" language.

Suddenly one morning, watching them and reflecting on the secrets that their language of gestures was sharing with me, I understood the world around me in a whole new way: THIS is the Word of God--ALL of this, every created thing around us. God is still speaking, daily, moment by moment, words from a dictionary that Adam helped transcribe by naming the animals (Linnaeus pitched in but never got the publicity that Adam did--too bad!).

God speaks to me a slug, a blade of grass, a lamb with its head stuck in the fence, a joyful Border Collie with a stick to throw, a breeze on a hot day, a star that I know is behind the clouds in the night sky. That is the Word of God, as surely as the Bible is.

The following hymn "wrote itself" on the lovely grand piano in the chapel that evening. (By and by, hopefully I will figure out if there is a way to include sound "pictures" on this blog as well as the digital photos.)

Open your eyes and see--
Mystery written here!
Open your ears and hear--
God is speaking here
In the browsing deer:
God has written,
God has spoken,
And the message is "Peace".


Piedmont Pelican said...

nice. that is a great description of something that has long been intuitively true for me. the words are a nice gift. thanks!

Wandering Coyote said...

Beautiful post, Natalya!