The Greening Power of God

On Monday we celebrated "Earth Day," which very appropriately came in the midst of a spring bursting with colors and teeming with rebirth. I started the morning by going down to the river to say my morning prayers and take in the beauty of leaves just starting to unfurl, on a very cool and crisp day before teaching my yoga class.

I focused on "Earth Day" by reading a letter attributed to Chief Seattle. There is some controversy over whether he actually authored these words in 1854 as they are written - but whether or not he did - his letter captures the essence of the beauty of celebrating the environment, our inherent oneness with everything in creation, and the importance of being good stewards of its gifts. Here is a link to the speech:

The last few weeks have been nothing short of magnificent as various trees and flowers come into full bloom. This week, red bud trees and dogwoods are making their presence known everywhere, as are so many delicate wildflowers emerging in little forsaken and unnoticed places, mostly off the beaten track. I stop to acknowledge them often on my walk, grateful for the little splash of beauty and color they humbly offer.

Earlier today, a dear friend sent me an email titled the "Greenest of Green," and as a result, I found myself thinking of Hildegard of Bingen, that wonderful 12 century mystic and Renaissance woman who often wrote of "viriditas," or the "greening power of God." She believed that this energy was vital - and it's source was Divine, contained in all things created - truly, in everything that we see, and what we don't see as well.

I could write a dissertation about her, but instead, I will leave you with some of her words, interpreted by Gabriele Uhlein, in "Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen," a book I have treasured for several decades:

Limitless love,
from the depths to the stars:
     flooding all,
     loving all,
it is the royal kiss of peace.


Holy persons draw to themselves
all that is earthy.


The blowing wind,
the moist air,
the exquisite greening
     of trees and grasses - 

In their beginning,
In their ending,
they give God their praise.

Glance at the sun.
See the moon and the stars.
Gaze at the beauty of earth's greenings.


What delight 
God gives
to humankind
with all these things.

Who gives all these shining, wonderful gifts,
if not God?

is allowed
in intimate love,
to speak
to the Creator
as if to a lover.

is allowed
to ask
for a pasture,
a homeland.

Out of the Creator's fullness,
this request is granted to creation.


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