#18: Outward manifestation of an inward pollution.

***This is the eighteenth of a series of posts based on a book I’m reading for a class called Connections in Religious and Ecological Education entitled Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation. The chapter is “Restoring the Inner Landscape,” by Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the sacraments lately, partly because I’m in the process of discerning my own call to ordained ministry and partly as a result of encountering a formula, over and over again, in which, like our definition of what a sacrament is in the life of the church, a symbol acts as the outward sign of an inward reality.  Seyyed Nasr states that the ecological “crisis must be seen as the external manifestation of a universal pollution that has turned the inner landscape of so many modern men and women from a luxuriant garden into an arid desert.”  A sacrament is the outward manifestation of an inward grace… the fact of our negligent and intentional destruction of the natural world is an outward sign of an inward lack-of-grace.  Sacrament… destruction.  Is it possible that our environmentally catastrophic behaviors are the diametric opposite of a sacrament, anti-sacramental?  I think so.  The broken world we’ve made is evidence of our spiritual brokenness, our inability to recognize God’s grace in Creation, in God’s making of us a part of this integrated and connected web of life.  We’ve exited ourselves from this web, and having done so, have made ourselves non-sacramental.  Holiness is at stake, it is in danger.  We are spiritually adrift, having cut the ties linking ourselves to the natural world of which we are a natural part.  Our “inner landscape” is arid, and so we have made our external landscapes arid.  Can we view the state of our world as a direct result of the state of our souls as a human family?  And, if we work on healing our souls, will we heal the world?  Or is it the opposite, that in healing the world, our souls will find wholeness and reconnection to one another and to God?  Perhaps it is a both/and.

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1 Comment »

  1. embracethecall Said:

    “discerning your call to ordained ministry…”

    Um, love to hear what’s going on in your head about that. Did I tell you that I had an era in 2007 where I was ready to step away from the process? I felt called….but I didn’t see a place for me in the system (this was my deacon budding awareness) and I just want to listen to what you’re thinking about…


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