A nearly full moon rose red from under the lake Michigan eastern horizon yesterday, just as the sun was setting over the western skyline of the city. I stood at the back of the sailboat, listening to the waves, feeling the soft warmth of the wind on my face and arms and watched in the wonder of this world so spectacularly made.
The moon rising felt like my soul rising up from the deep recesses of my being to softly whisper “this…and thee are the glory of God.”
The world clearly manifests the glory of God. I relish the times when I can just stop and take in the marvels of our environment. In the winter and early spring I find myself – like a sunflower - turning my face to the sun and just standing there absorbing the warmth and the light as much as I can. Or I will catch the scent of the lilac bushes from across the alley if the wind is just right, and I will breathe deeply in their sweetness and the knowledge that Spring has arrived.
It is somehow easier for me to accept the miracles of nature as the glory of God than it is to accept the fact that I too am manifest of such glory. But, aren’t we all the glory of God? St. Irenaeus – a 2nd century bishop – stated “The glory of God is man (and woman) fully alive.”
What does it mean to be fully alive? I don’t think Irenaeus meant we are to become party animals and to fill our senses in order to fill our lives. I believe it means we must work to understand who we are deep within our soul and to use that understanding to bring our talents and gifts in service to others.
The red moon rising from the horizon of Lake Michigan can be no other than what it is. And yet, that moon offers light; it sparks our imagination and it connects to our souls. It serves us well. It and we are the glory of God, if we choose to serve.
Michael Soika has been a community activist for more than 30 years working on issues of social and economic justice. His work for justice is anchored by his spiritual formation first as a Catholic and now as a Quaker.