Homily

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;

let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.

Today your community is blessing pets. I have a story about pets and rocks and would also like to talk about God's word.

We live in the woods, near the lake, but not on it. Beautiful spot : very peaceful, can listen to the trees. We are building a garage. Our excavator topped off a hill one corner had loose sand and we

needed rocks to shore it up. We went to get them. I see Penny skipping : she is pointing to each rock to load : 34 rocks, 11 tons : lots of joy. Later she tells me she is happy that the rocks are going to have a home, instead of just being in a pile on a field, they are going back into nature.

We went to visit friends in Cadillac and were staying in campground on the way, Penny sees rows of rocks on property at the side of the road that has a sign about selling split rocks. We stop to look at the rocks, and also see stacks of wood for sale. Up the hill is a house and barn. We see what looked like a large cage with a turkey in it.

Penny goes up the hill to see if anyone's home and meets the wood/stone cutter, Rudolph, she asks about the rocks. She asks about the turkey, "Is that Thanksgiving dinner?" "No!" says Rudolph. Its a pet turkey named Buzzard, along with a wild duck, named Daffy, also in the cage. Rudolph tells story about them out cutting wood and Buzzard the turkey not moving when called and when Rudolph approached Buzzard, he found that a hawk had Daffy pinned. He shooed off the hawk and brought the bleeding Daffy home.

Rudolph came and talked to us about the rocks, He was an older stocky guy with lots of sawdust on his work clothes. We paid him for 40 rocks and said we would be back in the morning to get them.

Next morning we come back and are loading the rocks in the motor home : Penny's skipping again : Rudolph comes down the hill, cleaned up for church, with the Buzzard and Daffy behind him : says they are going for corn. He goes to the corn field and shucks an ear of corn and is feeding the turkey and duck, by hand. Buzzard is very curious and is looking at everything and everyone very closely : thought he was going to get into the motor home.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

I've been struggling for a number of years to understand who or what God is. I know that you can't limit God or put him, her or it, in a box. I've been taught that God is transcendent : above all and everything, and at the same time immanent : in everything.

I've read a lot that has been written by theologians, who are people studying and writing and teaching about God, trying to describe who God is so that we can have some understanding of this great being. Thomas Aquinas was one of the great thinkers and writers and his works are the basis of much of today's theology. A year before his death, he had some sort of mystical experience that prompted him to stop further writing. He said, "All that I have written appears to be as much straw after the things that have been revealed to me."

I understand that the bible was written by our ancestors as they were trying to make sense out of their experience in the world and with each other at the time they lived. They wrote in story form and their teachers say these things are true, but may or may not have happened. We read the bible in our time, and try to make sense out of our experience with the world and each other at the time we live. We need to find the truth, for us, in these writings. We know the world is different than our ancestors experienced it. For example, we know the sun does not come up and down, but that our earth goes around and around. We still speak in the terms of sunrise and sunset, I guess it makes us comfortable to use these terms instead of around and around.

Science has given us much to think about. When scientists talk about matter, what things and people are made of, we are told that when you dig down into reality, there are molecules and atoms and sub-atomic particles, and these particles are moving in some kind of space and its my understanding that at the innermost level, all these things are light. Its hard for me to comprehend that a rock that may weigh 600 pounds is made up of light, or that a turkey is or that I am, but that's the reality we are faced with. Scientists also affirm that there is order in the universe, keeping all this stuff together and in existence.

Carl Jung, the great psychiatrist, taught that there is a deep self part of us, where we are all united to each other.

The mystics of our tradition like Hildegard of Bingen and Meister Eckhart, who lived 800 years ago, speak of experiences of light that they have had in prayer. It seems they are speaking about experiences of God, when they talk about this. These experiences also moved them to work for justice in their world.

Matthew Fox, commenting on Eckhart says, "We can keep God outside by being too little in touch with our inside" Eckhart preached about this forgotten but sacred place: the innermost part of the soul.

I know that when I experience the wonders of creation, love, intense joy, or see Penny skipping, it feels like I light up inside. I wonder if at these times, I'm experiencing a bit of God's life in me. God who is in everything, keeping everything in existence and united with everything and everyone else.

Fox writes in another place about Einstein warning us that "science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." Fox thinks Hildegard would surely concur. But she would add that science and religion without art are ineffective and violent; and art without science and religion is vapid.

Our earth today is in need of healing. International author Laurens van der Post believes that ecological injustice reigns because we lack an ecological spirituality. "The reason we exploit, damage and savage the Earth is because we are out of balance. We have lost our sense of proportion. And we cannot be proportionate unless we honor the wilderness and the natural persons within ourselves." He also believes that the psychic price we pay for being out of touch with nature is a "staggering loss of identity and meaning... a kind of loneliness, an inadequate comprehension of what life can be."

Meeting Rudolph, Buzzard and Daffy was a real gift to me. As I reflect on this meeting it seems that God's word was spoken to me there in some way. They seem to be continuing the work of creation, being who they are called to be, in their lives together. To me, they seem to be living an ecological spirituality in their simple life, as they work with wood and stone.

I believe we are called to continue the work of creation in our lives and in our world. We need to listen to science and religion together, but temper them, and find their deeper meaning with art. We are called to work for justice in our relationships with each other and also in our relationship with all of creation.

The Eucharist is our celebration of God's word living in us and being spoken through us. Eucharist is also the food we need to live into our calling as Christians.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;

let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.

One last quote from Eckhart - "All creatures are the utterance of God. If my mouth speaks and declares God, so too does the being of a stone."

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