Responding to the World Contemplatively by Esther Hizsa

by Christine Sine

earth

“Crescent Earth from Apollo 4″ by Jason Major. Used with permission.

How is God calling me to respond to our beautiful, broken world? The same way I am asked to do everything else: contemplatively.

“Contemplatively” simply means living out of the reality that we are always in union with God. The apostle Paul said, “In Christ we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) So, we are not alone in any venture, including this one.

With this in mind, SoulStream (the contemplative Christian community I belong to) expanded our value of justice to include the following:

God being our helper, we will endeavour to:

1. approach our divine call to care for the world positively and lightly, knowing that our response will be a natural outflow of our life in God.

2. become more aware of our own complicity and our own inner landscape in terms of attraction and aversion around responding to the world’s beauty and brokenness.

3. support one another in our community, as we continue to converse about our anguish and helplessness around what we see and allow God to move us into hope.

4. join God in healing the world in ways that are true to our own gifts and limitations.

Night Prayer by Michael Cook. Used with permission.

Night Prayer by Michael Cook. Used with permission.

A few of us had been working on this initiative for months. When we finally got these four statements down on paper and shared them with our community at our annual gathering in June, it helped us all move forward.

Inspired by Michael Cook’s Night Prayer (above) and the Hafiz poem Seed Cracked Open, we have been praying, “God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do for the world today?”

This is what God, Fred and I have been up to while on vacation in Banff National Park.

Petted a dog and looked into her eyes

Listened to the sounds of creatures stirring in the morning

Instead of disposing of our paper, plastic, metal and glass in the campground garbage bins, we held onto them until we found recycling bins in town

Were saddened by the exhaust of a 4 kilometer long train of vehicles inching down from Lake Louise to the highway and have composed a letter about it to Parks Canada (along with suggesting they include recycling info in their Mountain Guide)

Spoke up for the earth when people were going off-trail and damaging the fragile plants

Encouraged someone who wants to start composting

Applauded my nieces who are doing a month-long simplifying challenge. Each day they will get rid one more thing (i.e. first day one, second day two, etc)

Tried to eat more slowly and bless those who grew the food

Prayed outside with my eyes open

Gave thanks for life around me (although it wasn’t easy when it was perpetually cold and we had even more rain and hail!)

What love mischief have you and God been doing for the world? Let me know. I’d love to include what you’ve been up to in my upcoming posts. Don’t worry if doesn’t seem like much. Wendell Berry says,

“The real work of planet saving will be small, humble, and humbling, and (insofar as it involves love) pleasing and rewarding. Its jobs will be too many to count, too many to report, too many to be publicly noticed or rewarded, too small to make anyone rich or famous.”

© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2015.

This is the last of four posts by Esther Hizsa.

esther hizsaEsther Hizsa is a spiritual director, retreat speaker and writer. She is a member of SoulStream contemplative community and helps facilitate their Living from the Heart course. She and her husband, Fred, live in Burnaby, B.C.They have two married children and two grandchildren. She blogs at An Everyday Pilgrim  where this was originally published. 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. 

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