“…Like a river that runs to the ocean
Like a ray reaching out from the sun
Like the leaf and the vine, the grape and the wine
I and my Father are one…”
Our good friend Mindy Jostyn left us songs on her “Coming Home” album with lyrics so pure, sweet, and spiritually evocative that I can’t help but hear them when I pray. Many folks know Mindy through her hauntingly beautiful "In His Eyes", an anthem of compassion and hope, but this one, “I and My Father Are One” speaks to me of the spiritual nature of the universe…plants, creatures, sky, planets, the very soil itself. Or as Gary Kowalski suggests in his treatise from Animal Blessings (June Cotner, Editor): “We must join in a biospirituality that will acknowledge and celebrate the sacred in all life.”
"Though our fears may estrange and divide us
May we seek to dissolve them through love
We are sister and brother, each bound to the other
And one with our Father above..."
I was thinking about this concept of biospirituality yesterday on my walk/run through Forest Park..the extraordinary 1,371 acre jewel-in-full bloom only a block from my house. (Those of you who live in St. Louis, don’t miss this hidden Shangri-la which sits right in the middle of our city…it’s 500 acres larger than NYC’s Central Park.)
It came to me with such clarity that since every molecule in the universe is an idea of Mind made manifest, then every blade of grass, grain of asphalt, every breath of air I breathe is a reflection of Mind, God’s conscious worth, deserving appreciation, gratitude and recognition for its contribution to the universe.
It asks nothing of me…I should ask nothing of it. Shouldn't we be able to live side by side as respectful neighbors..in a spiritual biosphere. Yet regardless of how nature is treated, it gives so much to me…to all of us…of its beauty, strength, humility, grace…that I must, today, give of what I have. Awareness.
So as I walked and ran through this spiritual art museum filled with living canvases, sculptures, and fabrics of rock, water, air, organisms, creatures and plant life, I acknowledged their giving. Along my seven-mile course I said thanks a thousand times to creation for its gifts.
We are one…because we all share one Father, Mind, which creates and governs us all. There is no separation. This environment is not an abstract “thing”, or a group of disparate material elements and objects that we can dismiss as lesser or insignificant to our greater spiritual purpose. Since God is All-in-all, what surrounds us is never more, or less, than the allness of God made manifest, visible and appreciable. Animal rights, recycling, fuel efficient ways for staving global warming are not items on a political agenda…they are not red or blue issues, they are not a choice. They are what they are and always have been...a way of showing our gratitude to God…the expression of kindness to one’s neighbor, to one’s family, to one’s all-inclusive, species-less community of spiritual brotherhood.
Our son, Jeremy, has renewed my passion as an environmental activist. I have to admit that my resolve to recycle had flagged since the first Earth day celebration in Mr. Price's biology class on April 22, 1970. I had become disillusioned by rampant consumerism and a culture obsessed with accumulation and disposal. But Jeremy has helped me remember the promise I made as high school sophmore in the Spring of 1970 when we all pledged to be caretakers of this earth. He has reminded me that every piece of cardboard, every plastic water bottle recycled is a gift of appreciation to the world of water, rocks, rivers, sky and air that so blesses my experience every day. We share this earth and as Mary Baker Eddy tells us "as in heaven, so on earth, God is omnipotent, supreme". It is His earth and we share the universe with all of its inhabitants in one bond of unity.
Or, as Mindy puts it:
"...One in purpose, one in power
One in the moment, one with a flower
One in kindness, one in peace
One in the Mind that foresees our release..."
Each blossom on every tree sings a song of renewal, of fresh starts and new growth. Every napping duck floating on the ponds that pepper this park with cool refreshment paints a memorial to the wisdom of trusting the buoying power of Spirit to uphold us as we rest in His care.
"...Like a seedling that grows in the forest
Like the light shining forth from the sun
Like a branch and the tree, a drop and the sea
A hymn and the choir, a flame and the fire
I and my Father are one..."
I pray you have a moment…even if it’s only to look out your window or reach down and let your hand brush along the new grass as you walk to your car...to commune in gratitude with this biospiritual community with which we share space in the universe. I believe that Mary Baker Eddy encouraged us to respect this biospiritual family when she reminds her readers:
“Mind maintains all identities from a blade of grass to a star
as distinct and eternal.”
That a blade of grass has a distinct and eternal identity is breathtaking and sobering. What have I to learn from this humble teacher? I think I’ll head back out for another class in humility and grace. Then down to the pond for Trust 101.
(and, Jeff as editor)