The Participatory Universe

by | Sep 8, 2010

What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.According to Genesis 1 where that concept is found, God speaks and the world comes into being. Then God blesses, and multiplies. And the world grows in richness, depth and complexity.
I used to think this notion of creation was weird. God speaks and things come into being? C’mon. Archaic at best. Simplistic and childish at worst.
But I’m outnumbered, by biblical writers anyway. The writer of The Gospel of John declares that Jesus is Logos or Word. You know…In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Pretty heady stuff.
Turns out this idea of creating through the spoken word has a correlate with quantum physics. That is, there is no such thing as objective reality which can simply be observed. Every observer is actually a participant! Since the days of Einstein, we’ve figured out that we live in a participatory universe that responds to our being. What I’m saying is, Word has power. Not just Jesus’ word, but ours too.
Maybe then to be made in the image of God, is to speak/create a world that is rich, blessed, and interdependent. A world that works for all of us of: all people, all creatures, and the planet itself.
So I’ve taken this idea of being made in the image of God seriously. And I’ve been experimenting with speaking a new world into being. One that blesses and enriches everyone and everything.
My current experiment? The Peace Forest. I declared it–without knowing where or how it would be planted. Before we had a place to plant, trees to put in the ground or money to do it, I declared it. Just to see.
Then I invited fellow Jews, Christians and Muslims to help design it. My delightful companions got on board. Now we are all declaring the existence of this Peace Forest. In addition to finding trees, inviting volunteers, seeking donations, and the like.
The cool thing is that it’s working. And something that never existed before now exists. Even before the day we plant. Out of it new community is growing. One that values both religious faith and the environment.
Yup, the spoken word is powerful.
Of course, it
So now I’m asking you to take action to make this a reality: Here’s what I’d like you to do:
1. Speak about the Peace Forest to others. Tell your friends. Announce it in your religious services.
2. Pray about it and give thanks for it.
3. If you can, sponsor a shrub or tree or grove.
3. If at all possible, come help us turn the soil and plant a tree or two. This year, we’re starting with 100 trees. We’d like at least 100 people to help us plant.
You know what’s cool? Not only are we restoring Mother Earth, we are restoring faithful relations with one another.
It is, after all, a participatory universe. The way things are responds to the way we are.
Can I get an Amen?
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