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Crosfigell

The Word in Creation

The Word in Creation

May/Discipline

17 May 2010

And when they sat down to table, a bird alighted that moment on the prow of the ship, and made music sweet as an organ with its wings, beating them on the sides of the boat. And Brendan perceived that it was telling them something...

- Anonymous, Vita Brendani (Irish, 12th century, from an earlier ms.)

Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge...Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

- Psalm 19.2, 4

Celtic Christians believed what the Scriptures teach about the created world as a source of revelation about God and His will. They learned to "read" God's character and "hear" His guidance in the trees, lakes, hills, clouds, and creatures all around them. Scripture, of course, was always their final standard; still, many of the great Celtic saints demonstrated a keen ability to discern the Word of the Lord in creation.

This little vignette from Brendan's story - whose feast day was yesterday, by the way - illustrates the point. Brendan was pondering God's will for the mission he and his company had undertaken. How long would it be? Would they attain the vision of the Promised Land of the Saints? What will be after that? The appearance of this bird, beating its wings in a rhythmic and repetitive way, suddenly caused all of Brendan's musings and meditations to mesh as one, like the tumblers in a lock when the key is inserted.

God does speak to us through His creation. We just have not taken the time to listen, or made the effort to learn how to read His Word there. Great poets like Anne Bradstreet, William Cowper, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Denise Levertov, and Richard Wilbur give us some welcome insights into how we may acquire and develop this ability. But still, it all depends on whether or not we will.

A people who have not learned to hear God speaking in the Scriptures, and who do not eagerly and often resort there to hear Him, a people who do not make the effort to nurture the eye of the heart unto the vision of unseen things, such a people will gain no fruit from studying the creation to hear and read the Word of God embedded there.

But, knowing that God is speaking - God! - should we not lay aside every hindrance that keeps us from this effort, and, beginning with the Bible, nurture our ability to hear and heed the Word of God, regardless of its source? Where will you hear the voice of God today?

Today in ReVision: America's Petard

This Week's Download: A Personal Rule - Here is a key component for a more disciplined life, a life that hears God speaking everywhere. And it's free!

We hope that if you find this daily (five days) letter a source of encouragement, instruction, or spiritual guidance, you will consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe to help us extend our ministry to others. You can contribute at the website or by sending a contribution to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 100 Lamplighter Ct., Hamilton, VA 20158.

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T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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