Challenges to faith in God today sometimes come from atheism and secular materialism. What I call “creation spirituality”, stands in opposition to these challenges for several reasons.
Firstly, atheism and secular materialism can create huge doubts in the minds of people about the purpose and meaning of their lives. If human beings are merely the random outworkings of scientific principles, then what is the point of life?
Yet a focus on the idea of creation makes me appreciate that life has a supernatural source, that the universe has a purpose and a meaning, and that every person who has ever lived, and who ever will live, has something unique about them – we are all special “creations” – of our biological parents, of course, but even more importantly, of a supernatural parent whom we know as God.
And then there is the whole issue of nature, the world and the universe. Is it a cold, unfeeling universe that we inhabit that cares nothing whether we continue in existence or are extinguished as a species? What is the point of the birds, the trees, the flowers, the clouds, the hills, the mountains, the skies and the stars? Why do we respond to them the way that we do?
Creation spirituality answers these questions.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.
I respond to nature – to creation – because I, like creation, am created.
“God saw all that he had made and it was very good”.
The world around us can be dangerous and destructive of human life; but it is also a daily blessing, and we depend on our environment for survival, as we could not live without oxygen, water and food.
For me, living today in our 21st century world, a spirituality that has a clear focus on human beings as significant creations, the earth as a unique creation and the universe as an awe-inspiring context for life, is essential for living with purpose, meaning and some daily joy.
I use a similar structure to what St. Ignatius of Loyola set out in his Spiritual Exercises. It stops me rushing, which is part of the point! The guidance I give just that – guidance I used when I did the meditation myself.
i) Ask God for understanding of the verse above
ii) Ask for wisdom and for grace
iii) Pray that the thoughts of my deepest heart, my intentions, and my actions may be warm, loving, wholesome and good, and directed to the love of others and of God
iv) Help me to learn more deeply what it means to be known by God
2. PRELUDE1 – a mental representation – using your imagination of the verse:
i) God looking at me
ii) God knowing me
iii) God seeing the errors I make and the harm I do to others sometimes, and the harm I do to myself by my choices
iv) God seeing me using my talents and gifts for the good of others
i) What do you want and desire in meditating on this verse?
ii) Is it something like having a better sense of being known by God, a better sense of being loved by God, a better sense of how to use your life – or something else?
3. FIRST POINT
4. SECOND POINT
You have searched me
5. THIRD POINT
And known me
This is about talking to God – what do you want to debate or wonder about with God?
It might be – How can God search and know all human beings? How does God know both good and evil? How does God feel? What else do you want to discuss with God?
Now what do you want to pray?
Is it about being more careful with my faults? Is it about growing into God’s love more? Is it about having a better awareness of God’s presence? What is it?
There is no image deliberately. God is a God of love and compassion. He has searched us and known us in love.What ideas are you left with, and what can you do, or who can you talk to about this experience?