I preached a sermon in late August about the influence Fr. Thomas Merton has had on me and my spirituality.
As the leaves begin to fall in earnest and the trees’ frames are laid bare, I find a passage from his book New Seeds of Contemplation rising within me often.
“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him. It ‘consents,’ so to speak, to His creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree. The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him. If it tried to be like something else which it was never intended to be, it would be less like God and therefore it would give Him less glory.
No two created beings are exactly alike. And their individuality is no imperfection. In the contrary, the perfection of each created thing is not merely in its conformity to an
abstract type but in its own individual identity with itself. This particular tree will give glory to God by spreading out its roots in the earth and raising its branches into the air and the light in a way that no other tree before or after it ever did or will do.” (pg. 29)
There is much to unpack in this quote and many directions for reflection.
For now, I am thinking of the beauty of the LCR community.
Just like trees, each of us is different. Each of us is called to spread our roots in the earth and limbs in the air and light in ways unique to us.
We have different interests, passions, and desires. We have different skills, abilities, and strengths. And thank goodness we do! What a dull community we would be if we were all the same!
We can share more of God’s love with one another and with the world because we are each unique reflections of the Divine.
As I have taken on more responsibilities these last few weeks, I have noticed even greater richness among us. What an amazing family of faith this is!
I have known this for more than a decade of course, but I am getting to see LCR’s beauty in new ways from a different perspective. I am getting to see individual strengths and gifts in a new light.
It is my prayer that you are having this experience too.
As we begin the call process in earnest over the next few months, I am praying for new insights to rise in our collective awareness regarding who we are and from what type of additional pastoral leadership this family of faith will benefit and grow.
I ask you to join me in this prayer and for God’s wisdom among us; that we might see ourselves and our mission anew, appreciate our uniqueness as individuals and as a community, and listen deeply for God’s calling.