Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First Prints on Snow

It doesn’t happen often. I was out early enough this morning to leave the first prints on a fresh blanket of snow. It felt exciting (almost naughty). It felt like I was part of something new and fresh, like first barefooted steps on freshly laid carpet.

Evolutionary theory is exciting, for both science and religion. For science, it explains the patterned emergence of species. It explains group behavior and motivation. For religion, it explains why people seek groups to share meaning and joy.

Evolution is also an empowering personal concept. For me, it is summarized by the phrase “there’s always more.” This phrase is loaded with optimism and forgiveness.

I tried to capture the sense of human wonder that science and religion share in my sermon last Sunday. It was an emotional experience, partly because I was over tired, but partly because the theme captures so much of what is essential to me.

As I come to understand more and more that the supernatural deity is a human invention that science can no longer sustain, I discover God as the new thing that is all around; everywhere, in all things. This experience that is beyond names invites my highest wonder and my deepest surrender.

It’s not just theoretical for me. I experience this mystery in my marriage and with my kids and whenever I observe life without prejudice. The phrase “theres always more” fills me with hope when the economy or my mood or whatever temporary circumstances bring despair close.

This quote from a 20th century mystic from Bulgaria named Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, captures it all- “Whatever your trials, remind yourself that you are a spirit and are capable of changing your destiny.”

My emotions aren’t random. They have evolutionary relevance. There is always more. Wonder teaches me to adapt to an environment that is constantly changing, and invites me to change with it.


Anonymous said...

...walking in the sand just after an ocean wave has cleaned the spot for your next step...

Anonymous said...

Just an added thought.... it hit me that when I walked in the fresh washed sand there are no steps behind to ponder or worry about and frankly the now is short and the step in front is coming into focus.... Cheers from Sunny Zihuatanejo

Beth said...

You made me recall my favorite part of Ishmael (Quinn)... "Everyone in your culture knows that the world wasn't created for jellyfish or salmon or iguanas or gorillas. It was created for man? ... Did the entire cosmic process of creation come to an end three million years ago, right here on this little planet, with the appearance of man? Did evolution come to a screeching halt just because man had arrived? Do you see the slightest evidence anywhere that man was the climax toward which creation had been straining from the beginning?" Isn't that a freeing revelation... we aren't in fact the culminating experience of life on earth... the end all be all... whew.