March 14:  What does it mean to be of the Earth?

Genesis 2:7 – And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The whole process of living, dying, and then living again starts with Yahweh “breathing into clay,” which then becomes “a living being” (Genesis 2:7) called Adam (“of the earth”). A drama is forever set in motion between breath and what appears to be mere soil or earth (humus, human, adamah). The Formless One forever takes on form as “Adam” (and in Jesus “the new Adam”), and then takes us back to the Formless. Each form painfully surrenders the small self that it has known for a while and returns to its original shape in the Great Self we call God. “I am returning to take you with me, so that where I am you also may be,” says Jesus (John 14:3). This changing of forms is called death and resurrection, and the return is called ascension, although to us it just looks like loss.

After the resurrection when Jesus “breathed on” the fearful disciples and said, “Peace be with you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22), he was making a clear connection with the first creation of Adam. Jesus is now re-created. He is mimicking the creation story.. God is again breathing into “the clay of the earth” (Genesis 2:7) and reminding it that it is never just earth and clay.

Christians call it incarnation, culminating in death, resurrection, and ascension. Whatever we call it, this process is about all of us, and surely all of creation, coming forth as individuals and then going back into God, into the Ground of all Being. This cyclical wholeness should make us unafraid of all death and uniquely able to appreciate life.

(Richard Rohr)

To be of the Earth is to know

The restlessness of being a seed
The darkness of being planted
The struggle toward the light
The pain of growth into the light
The joy of bursting and bearing fruit
The love of being food for someone
The scattering of your seeds
The decay of the seasons
The mystery of death
And the miracle of birth.

John Soos, Earth Prayers, page 288
Remember its Meat Free Monday!

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