6 Creation Companion

living in harmony with wild nature

Questions for reflection

If you live in a largely urban environment, where can you find a space to go and ‘be with wild nature’?

If you live in a largely rural environment, is there any way that you can create invitational space for friends or family to come and share that connection with wild nature?

How can fantastical stories like that of Noah’s Ark or Daniel in the lion’s den provide rooted inspiration for how we relate to nature.

Do you agree that, “The gospel is green; Jesus does not die just for people, but for the whole ‘more than human world’”?

What does it mean to recognise that humans have a key role in working together with God in the
evolutionary process?

“Veganism is not about giving anything up or losing anything; it is about gaining the peace within yourself that comes from embracing nonviolence and refusing to participate in the exploitation of the vulnerable” (Gary Francione ). What do you think of his words?

Further reading and further thoughts

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“Along with the other animals, the stones, the trees, and the clouds, we ourselves are characters within a huge story that is visibly unfolding all around us, participants within the vast imagination, or Dreaming, of the world.” David Abram

“The easiest beneficence is a smile. The simplest release is to have a vegetarian meal.” The Buddha

“A loving heart is a heart that is burning with love for the whole creation, for people, for birds, for the beasts, for the demons – for all creatures” – Issac Syrus

Read: Job 39:1-30

Mark I Wallace, Finding God in the Singing River, Fortress Press 2005

David Henson, The Rain-Bow: A Short Story

Randy S Woodley, Shalom and the Community of Creation: an indigenous vision, Eerdmans 2012

Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals, Penguin 2011

Bron Taylor (Ed), Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2 vols), Continuum, 2008

A peacemeal idea

Instead of a static Peacemeal, try going on a group walk as a Peacemeal, ideally somewhere that gives you an opportunity to explore wild nature. This can be a park if you are in a city or the great expanses of countryside if you are more rurally based. If possible, try and forage for food along the way to share amongst one another, as long as you have the requisite knowledge and skills to do so. Otherwise, take a small hamper of very simple raw, local food stuffs that demonstrate your connection with the same earth that you are exploring.

Living it out

Take time simply to ‘connect’ with wild nature, by looking, listening, touching, smelling and tasting. Mentally, spiritually, physically embrace your ‘oneness’ with it, and your shared ‘oneness’ with God. What are you experiencing and learning? Be open to be surprised! Take what you learn and let it shape the way you live.

Become a ‘guerrilla gardener’; seeking out waste and neglected spaces in your neighbourhood and plant them with either (or both) flowers and edibles. Bring beauty, colour and joy, fragrance and food to places left abandoned. Brighten the urban environment, confront people with the impact of living things, make food available for the hungry, extend the finger of ‘vibrant wilderness’ into the city space, raise political questions about land ownership, rights and reform by this direct action. Use the internet to connect with other ‘guerrilla gardeners’ in your area. See it as a sacramental act.

For many people, vegetarianism or veganism seem like a sacrifice too far. However, the challenge need not be absolute. Why not try to become a ‘part time vegetarian’?, committing to at least three meat free days per week. Even a decrease in the amount of animal based foodstuff is great for the planet; humans and creatures alike.

A meditation

Try adopting a meditative use of the native American Lakota Sioux prayer, Mitakuye Oyasin, which means ‘all my relatives,’ or ‘we are all related’; this is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life: other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys. The text can be found here.

Take a red house brick … God takes the red clay of the earth and shapes the human form, breathing into it – it becomes a living being. We take the red clay, shape it into bricks and build cities. Imagine the Spirit-breath of God blowing through the streets of your city, saturating the walls of buildings, soaking the pavements. In the light of our themes, what creative miracles might unfold?