The Heavens Are Your Kin

(Today I led the weekly ecumenical chapel service in Tuttle Chapel at Wabash College. Here are the selected readings, a short meditation, and a hymn.)

Genesis 15:5

And he [God] brought him [Abraham] outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

Psalm 19:1-4

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; Yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

Luke 19:37- 40

As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

 “The Heavens Are Your Kin”

I

As a child, I loved to read my illustrated Bible through its pictures. My three favorites—the only ones I can really see in my memory today—were all built around rocks and stones. Boulders, really. Abraham kneeling beside a tortoise-shell-looking rock, gazing up at the cosmos; Moses standing on the jetties of the Red Sea, arms outstretched, parting the waters; Jesus kneeling, like Abraham, in Gethsemane, in agony.

II

In C.S. Lewis’ book The Discarded Image, our modern scientific vision of the heavens is contrasted with the “discarded image” of the incorrect, but deeply enchanted, Ptolemaic celestial model of the middle ages. What is at stake in this contrast is a threefold revelation, a threefold reality: our vision of God, creation, and the human person.

III

Today’s readings reveal a more radical contrast and richer religious insight than Lewis’. To see through the eyes of Abraham and the Psalmist is neither an option nor a historical trend: if we feign at blindness and remain silent, our next of kin, the stones and the heavens, will cry out and tell the glory of God—ad majorem Dei gloriam!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8gQ65F3BzA&feature=related

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  • Enshroudedment

    Are the stones crying out today? Are they crying out even while the disciples cry out? Or is there an even more radical way in which the stones cry out if man does not?

    While heaven and earth proclaim His glory and as St. Augustine says that there is no fault with Creation (7.14), is there any reason to think that the stones will cry out or can cry out more fiercely? How do stones and stone men cry?

    “For the expectation of the Creation waits for the revelation of the sons of God. For Creation was made subject to futility: not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope. That the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that every creature groans and travails in pain, even till now,” Rom 8:19-22.

    As all creation waits for salvation, does it experience fervor? Does the earth shake in anticipation of Salvation? Do the winds blow for desire of Redemption? Will the stones sing by casting themselves against people and shouting, “Repent and Praise the Lord! Alleluia! Lie on the ground dying from my weight, but in death have life! Praise the Lord! May your bloody sacrifice to earth be found fitting in the eyes of the Lord. Remember man, thou art dust and into dust you shall return and so shall I. But until then, shed your blood mankind and praise the high hung Lord!”

  • Enshroudedment

    Are the stones crying out today? Are they crying out even while the disciples cry out? Or is there an even more radical way in which the stones cry out if man does not?

    While heaven and earth proclaim His glory and as St. Augustine says that there is no fault with Creation (7.14), is there any reason to think that the stones will cry out or can cry out more fiercely? How do stones and stone men cry?

    “For the expectation of the Creation waits for the revelation of the sons of God. For Creation was made subject to futility: not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope. That the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that every creature groans and travails in pain, even till now,” Rom 8:19-22.

    As all creation waits for salvation, does it experience fervor? Does the earth shake in anticipation of Salvation? Do the winds blow for desire of Redemption? Will the stones sing by casting themselves against people and shouting, “Repent and Praise the Lord! Alleluia! Lie on the ground dying from my weight, but in death have life! Praise the Lord! May your bloody sacrifice to earth be found fitting in the eyes of the Lord. Remember man, thou art dust and into dust you shall return and so shall I. But until then, shed your blood mankind and praise the high hung Lord!”

  • http://tau-cross.blogspot.com/ Tausign

    How Franciscan…thank you! Yes all of creation is our kin. The question is can we ‘listen and believe’ in the proclaimation of a non-scentient universe? Will we discover ‘meaning and love’ in the integrity of non-accidental materiality? Do we understand how our own atoms are sustained in a universe of form and substance. Do we realize that our soul is itself spiritual creation within the material creation as in our mothers womb?

  • http://tau-cross.blogspot.com/ Tausign

    How Franciscan…thank you! Yes all of creation is our kin. The question is can we ‘listen and believe’ in the proclaimation of a non-scentient universe? Will we discover ‘meaning and love’ in the integrity of non-accidental materiality? Do we understand how our own atoms are sustained in a universe of form and substance. Do we realize that our soul is itself spiritual creation within the material creation as in our mothers womb?