Finisterre: An Emerging Easter

A pledge to keep walking beyond where I have once called home, onto where I am challenged to change, reconcile, surrender, and create in ways I hadn’t imagined.

I write this on Easter morning, remembering all the mornings of my life that I went to an Easter sunrise service at church, awake, expectant and excited, feeling like I too was going to a tomb to mourn a beloved one, only to find that the Beloved is not dead but alive, in new form.

I have been writing and reading much about the expanding universe and my place and purpose in it in the last two blogs, quoting often from the book by Brian Swimme on Cosmogeneis. I am curious that this exploration has deepened during the season of Lent and is culminating during Holy Week and now Easter. As a cradle Christian in a reforming church, one that was founded on questioning tradition (Luther takes on the Catholic church), I feel I am honoring that lineage by being open to understanding the teaching of Christ in ever expanding and evolving ways–not leaving it behind, but allowing its dynamism. If God created the universe, we now know it is not a fixed cosmos; it is one in constant genesis–creating new stars, creating new humans, creating new possibilities, creating new potential. And in me, and in so many, creating a new awareness. “See, I come to make things new,” says Jesus.

I have been leaning into a creation-centered orientation to my spiritual journey for over twenty years, appreciating the Celtic understanding of our relationship to the created world, the indigenous cultures knowing of the elements of creation as their “relatives”, and of the early Christian mystics of Hildegard of Bingen, Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich who were given visions of Earth as Divine creation. And I have always experienced the Divine in the human body, in awe of how it works, it moves, it heals, it expresses this creation.

Matthew Fox, another creation-centered theologian, writes that religions of the Western world, especially Christianity, were captured by the idea that a human’s ultimate purpose is to be redeemed out of a fallen world. This fixation on escape resulted in modern theology’s slide into irrelevance, most notably among the highly educated and the young. According to Fox, Western Christianity needs to drop its obsession with getting redeemed out of the world and return to a twelfth century theology that the universe is not fallen, but the primary manifestation of divine magnificence. ( pg. 183, Cosmogenesis)

Julian of Norwich writes: “See!” I am God. See! I am in everything. See! I do everything. See! I never lift my hands off my works, nor will I ever. See! I lead everything toward the purpose I ordained it to from without beginning, By the same Power, Wisdom, and Love by which I created it. How could anything be amiss?”

In these words I see the same understanding that cosmologists write about–that the universe knew from the birth of creation that we were coming. I am fascinated with this translation of Julian of Norwich that says, “I ordained it to from without beginning.” A way of saying our creation had a beginning 14 billion years ago, but it was formed from “without beginning.” That which was before time.

Some call it “panentheism”, meaning God is in everything. But it is more true for me to say, everything is in God. I am in God. I am not separate from that which created everything. Or as Thomas Berry says, ” I am the universe in the mode of a human.” I know it is true without fully being able to grasp it.

As Easter emerges in me this year, I am appreciating my many years of observing and honoring Easter, awakening on this morning to all which confirms life here on this amazing planet where we evolved. The greening of the earth, daffodils blooming, and yes, bunnies and chicks and colorful eggs, holding life beneath that shell. The story of an empty tomb.

There is a knowing in our cells of once being water and emerging from water. That as we evolved into this form we have memory of that which falls away and dies, yet that life force that continues on. While I don’t hold to the teachings of original sin or atonement theories of my original faith, I hold onto the Love I was taught that created the world and sustains it.

In this emerging Easter within me, there is a new spring that I cannot even fully name yet. And there is a new form of me that I don’t recognize, like Mary Magdalene mistaking Jesus for the gardener until he called her name. I feel my name being called into new awarenesses. In this emerging Easter which feels a bit confusing and new and disorienting to my human mind, hardly able to take in cosmogenesis, I take a step, putting my foot on the ground of this Earth as divine manifestation, and simply give thanks for this moment in 14 billion years of time. I am here now. I wonder what that will mean. But as Julian of Norwich writes, “What can be amiss?”

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