we need beauty as well as bread

Over the past year, I have found renewed joy, nourishment, and a profound sense of place in nature. Working in both northern and southern California has put me close to some of the country’s best national parks and I have been grateful for the resources and the time to visit several of them. 

Driving and especially hiking through such varied topography – from giant redwoods to high desert, and seaside cliffs to peaks in the Sierras – has filled me with wonder. I have been humbled by the astounding variety of plants and trees, of landscapes carved from the slow movement of glaciers or the fiery power of a volcanic eruption. The expansiveness of sky and sea has inspired prayers of gratitude. The sound of an ecstatic bird chorus or the twilight gurgle of frogs has motivated me to lift my voice in praise of the Creator.

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Mothering Christ

The writings of Julian of Norwich (c.1342– c.1416) have nourished my spiritual imagination since I first encountered them. Perhaps the best known of her words are from Showings, a series of visions that she received in the midst of a near-death experience.

“…but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’

Like many mystics, Julian’s experiences led her to name God in new and surprising ways. Months ago, I came across these striking passages from her Revelations of Divine Love and found them both challenging and insightful.

“The Second Person of the Trinity is our mother in nature, in our substantial making. In him we are grounded and rooted, and he is our mother by mercy in our sensuality, by taking flesh.”

“Thus our mother, Christ, in whom our parts are kept unseparated, works in us in various ways. For in our mother, Christ, we profit and increase, and in mercy he reforms and restores us, and by virtue of his passion, death, and resurrection joins us to our substance.

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