by D.Thomas

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation…” [ROMANS 8:18-19a]

Hunter’s Moon: here in the northern hemisphere dawns are later, twilights, darker and sooner. The full moon was brilliant at seven in the morning, when I took that picture, and last week the half moon was radiant when I was out at six a.m. There were deer out, then, too, crossing the street ahead of me.

It has been rainy more days than not, and October was near-record warm, the leaf-change late, but the colors are gorgeous– vibrant, magnificent reds, oranges, golds, aglow like stained glass on the wet sidewalks, and yellow like tongues of flame.

The season is of the gathering in and laying up for the winter.

How do we know to do that? Watching the squirrels of urban parks and suburbia, the trees shedding leaves to conserve water during the freeze? Or just because it’s Football?

The generations pass down knowledge, information: what has been observed and noted, measured, learned, and practiced: when to plant and when to prune and what to cover, what to eat, what to avoid, and what soothes, what heals, among the vegetables, herbs and leaves as we forage and farm; where and when to catch the fish, to hunt, when the animals are fat from harvest times, the spring babies big enough to run, the does and cows not nursing, maybe not carrying yet (I saw a slim, young lady doe and a newly-muscled, six-point buck following: there will be fawns come springtime).

We still pass down information– our languages, maths and sciences, how to cure, salt, pickle, can, preserve so that over the winters we can eat; how to run our machines, boil water on a stove, drive; and traditions of heroes we recognize and holidays we celebrate, teams or sides we’re loyal to or hate.

Children are taught the skills of survival by the adults of the community; the elders hold knowledge and wisdom, and it sometimes breaks my heart that because the technologies change so fast, the screens on the desktops change with the updates, rendering old programs archaic, obsolete: nothing known yesterday is very useful today in cyberspace– you have to keep up or you’re left behind and, not lost, nothing on the ‘net is lost, but– out of touch, out of reckoning, out of the loop; the middle-school aged kids explain or run the tech, and shake their heads at Granddad– and: who learns the deep, abiding lessons if the very elders who have the wisdom of the life of mind, spirit, and nature are the lost, bewildered children in the Western World? How lost our older parents and friends must feel– everything they have lived and learned is laughed at, and they can’t keep up with all— their role in the community is not even wanted anymore, it seems. And if we live we’ll each end up there, facing winter with nothing but the blanket around our shoulders, a bundle of dry sticks on an ice floe, if that hasn’t melted.

To hallow means to honor, to keep holy.

Yesterday was Halloween; before COVID, I loved the chance to tell the little kids in Bible class that the trick or treating holiday comes from All Hallow’s Eve, or All Saint’s Eve before All Saint’s Day, when we honor the dead. We honor the “saints who have gone before”– who are “believers”, not only those especially good ones sanctified by the Catholic Church. We honor our ancestors. Parades and costumes, and dead people represented with masks and bones, combined with early twilights and bright big moons, became more and more of festival and bravado defiance of the unholy or restless, unsatisfied dead. People dressed as witches and monsters and fiends to keep the real dangers of dark nights at bay, and, like the dark tales that ended up Disney Princess movies, All Hallow’s Eve became the kids’ dress-up to get candy, merchandised fun, and the pranks of older kids, and the horror movies people like to be scared by.

the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the One who subjected it, in hope that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” [ROM. 8:19-21].

Human fear and human pride have led us to think that we are the ones who should and do subject Earth– and as much Creation as we can– to our will. Western civilization has built itself up subjecting the land and animals and water and other humans to men’s, Kings’ will– . Muscle and mind were power, and then accumulated wealth– food enough, food stolen, food hoarded, food shared or not, and water and materials of clothing and shelter and then of ornament; stone and iron weapons for hunting and fishing and fighting, protecting and invading. Wealth owned land and labor, and passed it down to sons, and when only so-called nobles were allowed to farm or hunt or fish upon the land, the poor could pay rent or tribute, or starve to death or be hung for poaching; Wealth bought the swords and guns to take over land, to chase off, kill off, enslave people with weaker weapons; wealth and the weaponry used to gain and protect wealth, and the ships and wagons to carry the materials that were bought, traded, sold, the silks and spices and poppies, diamonds, gold, oil; uranium, plutonium– thus the commercial centers , the city states, the capitalists, went out and conquered much of the world. Philosophy and religion followed, although the capitalists often set out with banners declaring “freedom” or “faith” or “democracy”– rather than “conspicuous consumption” or “disposable income”. We have Silk Roads and Spice Roads and Trade Winds.

Consider: “Holy Roman Empire”. Worldly, earth-conquering Rome spread through North Africa and Europe, and, via Italy (city-states and Merchant Princes), Portugal, France and Spain, and thence across oceans, around continents, to the “Far East” and “the Americas” (the Eurocentric names) and brought home tributes and goods. Wordly “Christian” Rome called itself Holy and the Seat of the Church–. But one cannot be a worldly Empire Power, and Holy, according to the Gospel words of Christ Jesus. He told His followers to go and make disciples, through Jerusalem and Judea and to the ends of the earth, but never by dominating:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” [JOHN 13:34-35];

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example, that you should do as I have done for you” [JOHN 13 :14-15];

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” [MATTHEW 20:24-28].

And I think of the East India Company with its private army, the Dutch East India Company which was the biggest company on earth, or the Hudson Bay Company which was founded in 1670 and owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, still; the Robber Barons, and the Apples and Amazons and 3Ms now…

“Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” {LUKE 12: 15].

We can learn history and math and how-to, all technical knowledge, from books and sites on search engines, but the things of the heart and of the spirit are not known until they are experienced. Like solutions to problems, things of the Spirit cannot be seen until they are seen, until one’s eyes are opened. One cannot understand suicidal despair if one has not felt it, or forgiveness, or love so desperate you could die for loss of it, or wish to–.

Childbirth pain, withdrawal, insanity; wind on skin, immersion in salt or silken water, the taste of mango— you can read all you like, but some things must be undergone to be known. Suffered and survived.

Here, I think, is much the point of the Fall in Eden story: humans must taste, must experience, must live, suffer, to learn and know to their depths Good and Evil. Our sin is how we know evil– when we see and feel and realize the wrong, or the results and consequences of the transgressions we commit. We know Good by the good done to us and that we somehow do– or God does through us. We can weep with thanks for forgiveness. Jesus was the example of Good, and the Christ in us is Love loving through us. Humans were set on their courses of Individuation– lived experience, assimilation of the lessons. On our own, forgetting to acknowledge the Creating, Generating, Sustaining God, we become mired in error, in dirt and muck, in hatred and fear and fighting, tearing the others down to gain a foothold to keep our own mouths clear– look at how “civilization” spread, how “western civilization” overpowered “savages” and “heathens”, took their lands and their natural resources to hold the idea of its own superiority or goodness. In Goodness, out of Love, God incarnated Themself as a human to learn, to undergo, to endure, to suffer human life, to know what it was to be human, the loftiest-thinking, highest-reaching, strongest, smartest, richest, and most beautiful of whom must defecate or will die. God experienced the hungers and pains, the itch and stink and sweat, the thirst, the temptation, the loneliness of human being.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

As I was letting ideas roll around and begin to build blocks, I glanced at the Google Discovery page and saw that scientists have found a new, apparently beautiful and charming tetraquark that lasts for longer than any other known, exotic quark, which interests them because it does not have the normal two quarks plus two antiquarks, but two charms and no antiquarks (at CERN); that scientists have failed to find the expected “sterile” neutrino, a type of neutrino that does not change flavor, which they were hoping for, for their math to make sense, meaning they will have to rethink their theories; and that, some particle physicists are beginning to think that everything– even those neutrinos, those hadrons, baryons, neutrons, electrons, protons, mesons, quarks, have consciousness of– an elemental sort; that everything that has mass or spin or charge has the experience of mass and spin and charge. “Panpsychism,” this idea is called.

(Very Hindu, this sounds: that everything is of the Mind and Being of God. Hinduism also suggests multiverses, and bounces rather than a bang at our beginning.)

Not that everything is God, but is in God, Creator and Sustainer and Reality; God gives the charge to the charge, the flavor to the flavor, the spin to the spin; and these become all that is.

Wherever there is being, each being that is abides in Being, and Being is the is-ness, life, of beings.

” The morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy” in Job 38 (v7).

There is hope or promise built into this cyclical earthly life, in the nature of things: while in the northern hemisphere the season is turning to dark and cold, spring is stirring, warmth and light are quickening life in the southern. The whole earth is never in darkness at once.

All creation waits.” The storm calmed when He Who could walk on water and multiply bread loaves and fishes, heal the sick and rise from death, spoke.

…since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature– have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” [ROM. 1:19-20].

I was thinking that breathing– by animal lungs, fish gills, mollusks, trees– is the exchange of gases. Gases are molecuaer chains, composed of atoms composed of muons and gluons and mesons and quarks; detachments and re-attachments of subatomic particles or charges or spins in new configurations is, then, a sort of “breathing.”

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.”

[Psalm 150:6]

Hallowed be Thy Name.