IN GOD’S TIME
“In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep waters, and a divine wind swept over the waters. God said, ‘Let there be light.’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’, and the darkness he called ‘night’. Evening came and morning came: the first day. God said, ‘Let there be a vault (the sky) to separate the blue waters above from the blue waters below. SO God created the vault (firmament or glass sky) and it divided the waters under the vault from waters above the vault. God called the ‘heaven’. Evening came and morning came: the second day...” Genesis 1:1-8
And so God set in motion the rhythm of time and with it the rhythm of life. With each evening and with each morning, a day of creative history took place. And then, yes, always then … the next evening came as did the next morning and then all the evenings and mornings that have come and have had their own day of creation before being left behind as a divine and human trace in time. Later we as wanderers and shepherds we learned of the calendar of stars as they marked out the times of the year; we as harvesters would learn of the comings and goings of the seasons; we as sailors and fishermen would learn of the ebbs and flows of the tides, the hunters, migrations of the herds and flocks, as families, we learned of the passing of life from one generation to the next, the rhythm of planting, growing, and harvest, the rhythm of birth, giving life, and then death. Yes, early on in our days we encountered the first lessons in the inherent rhythms of Creation, and, I do believe, we as humankind are still learning if we are still listening to them. It is one of the ways that God unveils His Creation.
The Benedictine approach to Christian spirituality tries to deeply respect the rhythms of life, learning to embrace and appreciate them in a reverence for the soul of the Creator who set them in motion. Here at Greyfriars’ Abbey, the natural rhythms of life is accentuated. We live each day according to the work of each specific hour; we live each week according to the work of each specific day; we live each year according to the work of each specific season. We still believe in the hymn of praise found in the sunrise and the hymn of peace found in the sunset. We still believe in experiencing the darkness of the Night and even more so, in experiencing the light of the Day. We still celebrate the times of seed-time and harvest, though modern life has tried to obscure that rhythm from most. We still cherish both the days of youthful vigor and the days of aged wisdom, enjoying them both and all days in between. We do this with clear intention at Greyfriars’ Abbey, lest the world forget in its conquest of the natural rhythms with its obsessive attempt to be a 24/7 world with its artificial illumination, its climate-controlled environment, its split-second parsing of our computerized time, all in its quest for a state of perpetual adolescence and the illusion that we are master of it all.
The other morning, just after sunrise, I walked down to the far orchard to check on the progress of this year’s apple crop, As I neared the fence of our neighbor’s cattle ranch, I observed cattle migrating from one pasture to another, all in a line, following the lead steer. The image brought me back to childhood times when I would witness the cows responding to the daily rhythm of the milking. Each morning, every morning, each evening, every evening, the cows would follow the bell cow in one long line, making their way to the milking barn. It is a rhythm of life on the dairy farm. And then I brought to memory the occasion of my Grandfather’s burial in the family plot on that farm. As we were finishing the work of our funeral farewells, in the distance you could hear the clank, clank, clank of the cowbell. The cows were making their way to the barn, once more. And uncles who were still working the farm said their last prayers and then made their way to the barn. On the dairy farm, the cows must be milked.
One of the keys to the Beautiful Life in Christ is to enjoy the flow of Creation’s rhythms and not to fight them. There is joy in the sunrise and there is joy in the sunset, and each rings its particular joy to our souls. And I believe God created it so. There is a certain distinctive beauty in the springtime, there is another in the summertime, and in the autumn, another, and even in the winter, one more, if you look for that wonder and embrace it. And even in the rhythm of being young and growing old, each time in our living has its certain, divine blessing inherent in it, if you embrace it, if you cherish it, if you respect it. And when you embrace God’s gifts of these rhythms of Creation, your soul is filled in a warm reverence for the One who created it all to be so.
My Loved Ones, get back in touch with the evenings and the mornings, the seasons of the year and he seasons of a lifetime, the rhythms of God’s ongoing Creation still going on.
Brother Anthony of the Cross
— For the latest installment of the ongoing story, The Mystic Realms of Shadow Fox, just click … http://greyfriarsabbey.wordpress.com/the-mystic-reams-of-shadow-fox/ … The installments are separated by ********* with the latest being at the end (obviously).