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All Ground is Holy Ground: Week 6 | Day 6

Creation is not just sacred, but ongoing, something that God is creating each moment. Br. Nicholas Bartoli ponders along with the words of his favorite hymn, how we are still in Eden, where God is still at work creating. All ground is holy ground.

Question: When did you last recognize creation as “sacred”? How can we foster that sense of awareness?
Share your answer in the comments below or using #5marksoflove
Activity: Date with Creation


Transcript: This week we’re looking at the fifth Mark of Mission, striving to safeguard the integrity of creation.  And one thing that I find really important here is looking at our motivation to safeguard the integrity of creation.

You know we could talk a lot about biodiversity, saving habitats for certain species; we could talk about pollution; we could talk about a lot of things.  But for me, the most important way that I feel motivated to protect the integrity of creation, is remembering that all of creation is sacred.

One of my favorite hymns that we often sing during morning prayer is Morning Has Broken, Hymn number eight in the hymnal.  And I think I like it so much because it really powerfully speaks to this idea of creation being sacred.  And not only as sacred, but as something that God is creating in each moment that creation is sort of ongoing.  And in a way, God’s participation here and now in each moment is Eden, and that we never really left Eden.  We just have somehow fallen asleep, and each moment could be a good morning, a morning where we awake to find that yes, we’re still in Eden, and creation is so infinitely precious and beautiful, but it deserves protecting.  It’s a way of recognizing that all ground is holy ground, and so of course, it needs to be protected not because of anything it can give us, but simply because it’s been created by God, and we share it, and we cultivate it.

So we might ask ourselves, “When was the last time we can recall when we recognized creation as sacred?”  And having recognized it as such, is there a way we can foster that sense of awareness of creation being sacred, even all the time, in every moment, so we can help foster this sense of desiring to preserve it, and nurture it, and protect it?

– Br. Nicholas Bartoli

Question: When did you last recognize creation as “sacred”?  How can we foster that sense of awareness?

Week 6 Activity: Date with Creation
Nurturing a healthy relationship with Creation takes time and intention. This week, schedule a few “dates” with Creation, finding a favorite spot in nature to return to each day. Nurture your relationship with Creation by offering thanks, being present, listening, protecting, and praying in this spot.

Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity

13 thoughts on “All Ground is Holy Ground: Week 6 | Day 6

  1. I consider my little piece of creation, with which God has entrusted me, to be my responsibility. Therefore, I have hired help to keep my back and front yards clean and planted with grass and flowers. I so enjoy it! I love all of creation. I want to attract more of his little creatures to my domain this year, hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
    I, too, enjoy “Morning Has Broken” and play it on the piano. To God be the glory for all of Eden, past and present.

  2. Many mornings, as I am able, I stop and feel the rumble of trucks dropping off food to the Inn next door, see birds building nests, rabbits eating my plants, hear the hum of bees working hard to maintain their queen, leaves turning to wind or rain…all a sacred rythmn that throbs like Gods’ heartbeat in everything around us. How can we as children of God not notice the sacredness in everything, everyone? How can we , forgiven and loved sanction killing, destruction, hate and pollution? Yet, we do. Awareness of the sacred arrived the first moment I was reborn knowing and feeling the supernatural grace of God; author of love and all things holy and hopeful. So, I ask, in my prayers, in this forum, in prayerful life choices and actions, we keep encouraging each other in the great love that bids you and me caretakers of our shared sacred holy ground.

  3. I continue to regard the great Falls and Rapids of the Chaudiere (Asticou) on the Ottawa River (Kichisipi) in Ontario as sacred, eventhough they have been silenced for nearly a century by a ring hydro dam. In the 19th century they. with their double rainbow and boiling cauldron. were one of the greatest of Canada’s wonders rivaling the Niagara Falls. The aboriginal people worshipped the Great Manitoo there as well….it was a meeting place for many tribes and early settlers and its mighty hydaulic force powered the lumbermills that made Ottawa a city and later the Capital of Canada.
    I have been trying to spread the sacred knowledge of the great Spirit that still slumbers in the rocky heart of the Chaudiere, knowing that in time she will be free to roar again and splinter the ice floes in Spring.
    One way I have been doing this is to collect, and publish as a series, all the poetry of the last several centuries which has used the sacred Spirit of the Chaudiere as a muse.
    I also wrote one as I fished the river below the fomer crest of the Falls beside an aboriginal interpretation centre and, ironically, flanked by Canada’s Parliament Hill and Supreme Court . A thunderstorm was lowering:

    Spirit of the Chaudière Falls

    On Victoria Island’s sacred bank
    I fish the setting sun for ghosts of
    pickerel haunting Kichisipi’s veins,
    beneath silhouettes of
    law, democracy and the church,
    authority and oppression,
    depending on your point of view,
    your history.

    Thunder echoes down the Valley
    a tipi cone back-lit in lighting glow,
    the restless Spirit of the Asticou
    calls upon Great Manitou
    to release her concrete chains,
    to sever the damned noose
    which throttles her of life
    and sturgeon song.

    For she too would once again
    boom into her cauldron boil,
    her foaming hair cascading;
    longing for her pristine glory
    wreathed in pine and spruce,
    her coronet a double rainbow,
    her cloaks of mist and ice.

    Two centuries she has waited
    poisoned, pinioned by industrial man
    who still demands her labour,
    profits from her shores where
    the wastelands and the mills
    will soon be gentrified with malls
    and condominiums for the ultra-rich
    astride her flumes.

    And she will keep on waiting.

    Bryan Cook, Ottawa , 2015

    • A lovely poem, Bryan. Though I have never been there, I can feel your love for a natural wonder which has been stolen away by “progress”. The third stanza really makes her come to life for me.

  4. Last year, a poplar tree in my yard was struck by lightning and the top half was cut off with one strike. I worried that the rest of the tree was dead and how to remove it safely. How excited I was when little leaf buds began to form on the branches left on the bottom half of that tree!…and now leafs are opening and it still has precious life left in it! These “sightings” brought me back to the glory of God’s creation in which we live. All of creation is so very precious and wonderful…and full of God!

  5. When did I last recognize creation as “sacred”? Not to sound flippant, but yesterday. My parents viewed creation as sacred and taught us to do the same. Even my now-atheist brother sees creation as something we all are a part of of and must honor. I thank my parents for that upbringing. It is why at the age of (almost) 60 I still see each of the many violets blooming in our yard as miracles and continue to take joy in the antics of birds and squirrels in our yard. Life would be so dull for me without the constant joy and wonder of this glorious creation we are a part of.

  6. Every day, I’m reminded of how sacred creation is; right now, a newly-planted tree is blooming for the first time in my front yard; my hydrangeas are budding and my azaleas are blooming; birds are singing and the sky is breathtaking any time of the day or night. God is in all of this beauty, and it is all holy.

  7. I have the great fortune to have always lived at the base of some beautiful foothills and mountains. Whenever I look at them, my breath catches, and I marvel again at God’s creative power and imagination. Mountains make me feel that I am in the presence of the sacred

  8. I, too, am an outdoors lover, and I recognize the sacredness of God’s Creation all the time. I am constantly drawn outside to play. I don’t own a house (or a television)(nor do I wish to), so rather than spending time in the yard, I seek out the country roads, or the wilderness. A really good motorcycle ride way out in the country is relaxing, revitalizing, and spiritually enriching. I call it The Church of the Open Road. And a good day hike in the deep woods will regenerate your mind, body, and soul. My wife and I have also ventured very deeply into the wilderness, disappearing for up to five days before emerging, totally cleansed of all of our troubles. Backpacking in the wilderness, totally immersed in the splendor of God’s Creation, carrying everything you need and leaving none of it there, truly makes you understand the amazing symbiosis between God, God’s creations, and us. It is a truly sacred time. We leave our essence in those woods, and retain their essence deep within us.

  9. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I remember the moment I “got” the meaning — God is alive in the Creation, in you and me, in all living things.

  10. I’m usually awake very early in the morning for a variety of reasons and even though I’m fairly busy getting the day started I’m guaranteed to see a fabulous sunrise every so often on my way to work. Many times at traffic lights I’ve snapped pictures of gorgeous skies with incredible hues that I just want to sit and stare at. Seeing the sky change colors over just minutes is precious to me. Now that spring is starting to finally arrive in my area I am delighting in the new sights of buds, green grass and warmer temperatures. Every day is another chance to celebrate the creation that we are blessed with yet so often take for granted. As the season is now really beginning to change there are so many opportunities to witness all the amazing creation God has given us every day.

  11. I love being outdoors and I am a paddler. Not only is my porch swing my sacred place for prayer and meditation, but each and every time I paddle down some creek I am surrounded by Gods sacred creation. We do cleanup trips on our local creeks and that does help keep the waters sacred. I do encourage my grandchildren to also enjoy and respect these holy places.

  12. I didn’t think of it as sacred at the time – rather I saw it as beautiful and miraculous. It was when I was looking at the spring blossoms – the pink fluffy ones; the white double thick blooms that looked like snow. And I thought how very beautiful and they do it every year. That is awesome. I see now that that can be a definition of sacred.
    I think bringing the “sacred” filter to bear on all that we see can foster it. Reminding ourselves when we look at the clouds, the earth, the garden, the sea, the change of seasons, birth and death, the fall colors etc.

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