Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Listening for Echoes

One of the reasons why it is difficult for many of us to “get” Orthodox Christianity is that we carry a supposition that nature, or things, are separate from spirit.  We may acknowledge that spirit may come upon flesh, or that that God may use material things; but by and large, most western-trained minds think material things get along just fine by themselves without some unseen force directly influencing them.  We are practical deists, neo-Nestorians.  
For the Orthodox Christian, the material and spiritual worlds are not separate realms that sometimes overlap.  Rather, the material world exists inside the spiritual world, is permeated by non-material reality, and is sustained every moment by the word of the Word of God.  The Word of God that spoke creation into being continues to echo in all creation.  Were that Word ever to cease, matter and energy would no longer be.  Or as it is put in Hebrews, the Son holds all things together by the word of His power.
Every material thing is a bearer of the word of God for an Orthodox Christian who sees the universe this way.  Unfortunately, many Orthodox Christians, specially those trained in western universities, do not.  Many Orthodox Christians have had the wonder trained out of them.  The botanist, for example, can only see the processes that form the biology of a tree, she has been trained no longer to contemplate the word of God that holds that tree together.  She cannot hear the echo of the Father calling out to her.
Of course we might say that proto-Nestorianism began in the Garden of Eden.  It began when Eve and Adam were deceived, and a tree that they were to contemplate became for them only a source of food--desirable to make one wise, lovely to look upon, something to consume, something to be seen from the outside but not known from the inside.

1 comment:

editorOrthodoxNorthwest said...

We all in the west and the modern worldview is everywhere, have trouble relating to the God given world. Who has time for poetry, or Church Feasts?
How do we live it in our daily technological, utilitarian lives?