On the first day of my Introduction to Theology course the professor said we were all theologians and the purpose of the course was to raise up a life time of our embedded theologies to meet traditional theologies, and discover where the two found commonalities and where the two found tensions; this is called deliberative theology. So I compared the theology of the songs that formed me, What a friend we have in Jesus, Great is thy faithfulness, and All creatures of our God and King, with the doctrines of creation, the trinity and Christology – I found no contradictions. But I did find that I’m more conscious of theology occurring around me. For instance the holy scriptures reveal who God is; creator, redeemer, sustainer and most importantly, lover of all creation. God enjoys being in relationship with humans and non-humans alike.
I’ve been reflecting on God’s desire to be in relationship with all creation, humans and non-humans, this past week as I had the privilege of introducing my love for Lake Michigan and Chicago’s luscious landscapes; a sample of God’s masterpieces, to a cherished friend of 30+ years and her daughter. I was not only thrilled about seeing my friends but with sharing the sights and sounds of the city. When we visited the Art Institute and I gave serious thought as to how a sculptor can visualize what stone to remove in creating a statue out of a lump of marble (humm, God created humankind out of a lump of clay); heard high school students participating in the Ravina Jazz Mentoring program raising the roof with performances of works by Thelonious Monk and Miles Davies (I believe King David played a harp); meandered through the Lincoln Park Zoo and watched the animals bathe in the warmth of the spring sun as did we; strolled through the Lincoln Park botanical gardens and learned there are between 25 – 30,000 species of orchards (sounds like the Garden of Eden to me); and experienced the shimmer of Disney in the Broadway show Aladdin.
Just as God seeks to be in relationship with all creation, so I now too seek to breathe in the fragrance of fresh mown grass of the garden, let my eyes dance across a Monet painting, feel the texture of fledgling jazz, and let my imagination flow in a Broadway show. I find that being in relationship with all creation is bringing me into a fuller understanding of who I am as a creature made in God’s image.
Studying theology has added an exclamation point to my experience of life! I encourage you to find your own punctuation.