In Philip Yancey’s book titled, ‘In the Likeness of God’, he writes about the insights he gained through his friendship with Dr Paul Brand.
Dr Brand worked in leprosy clinics in India for many years and during his life as a Doctor continually reflected on the human body as a metaphor for faith. It’s a fascinating read and I have thoroughly enjoyed their insights about faith.
The chapter I am currently reading begins with the following quote by Elizabeth Barrett Browning from her poem ‘Aurora Leigh’, written in 1856.
“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God.
But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
So much of our lives are busy – necessarily busy because of the pressures of work and play. This busyness is either placed on us by someone else or eagerly placed on ourselves as we strive for more – more money, more recognition, more fun, more status, more security and more things!
In Richard Rohr’s recent meditation on ‘Living in heaven now’ he refers to John 17:1, 20-23 where Jesus prays to his father and connects himself with everyone and everything: he in his Father, the Father in him, you in God, God in you, God in the world, and you in the world. It’s all one.
Jesus spoke these things, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, “Father I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in me through their word; that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.”
The alarming thing about this is that this oneness has huge learnings for us about the way we react to the world – in the way we treat others and in the way we treat ourselves. As one in Christ, my treatment of another is also my treatment of Christ and also my treatment of myself. Everything is connected in Christ. As people of faith we see things—people, animals, plants, the earth—as inherently connected to God and connected to ourselves, and therefore, absolutely worthy of love and dignity. That’s what Jesus is praying for in his prayer: that we could see things in their unity, in their connectedness.
As Elizabeth Barrett Browning said, people of faith see this connectedness and see God’s truth behind the busyness and the constant distractions of daily life. It is in realising that the busyness of work and life has a deeper and holy meaning as it connects us to each other and also to God. In a sense, our eternity has already begun as we learn to live in communion with each other and with all that God has created. We have been invited—even now, even today, even this moment—to live consciously in the communion of saints, in the Presence, in the Body, in the Life of the eternal and eternally Risen Christ.
Perhaps as perfect a way as possible in this earthly life, to describe salvation itself.
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation from Center for Action and Contemplation
Learning Leader: Formation LEVNT