Watch: Week 5 Day 3: The Work of Human Hands
What spiritual practices help to strengthen your connection with the natural world?
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Transcript of Video:
There are a few fairly simple practices or rituals that help keep me in touch with nature, with creation. One of them is I have been living in Emery House for a few months and if I am asked to prepare a meal or if I am asked to help beautify the chapel, you know, things like going out to the garden and gathering basil or mint or eggs from the chicken coop for the meal, doing that as a prayer. So when I harvest those things or take those things, I thank God and I thank the earth for having given those gifts to me, to us. I think of the verse from the Eucharistic liturgy that refers to the wine as “…fruit of the vine and work of human hands; May it become for us our spiritual drink.” So I think of something raw that has come from the earth, from nature, and that’s somehow been worked through with the work of my own hands and then becomes something more, becomes sort of an “interspecies collaboration” in a sense, whether it is the meal that ends up on the table or as a painter, I practice egg temper painting, which is paint that is raw mineral pigment and egg yolk and white wine so there is a very Eucharistic symbolism to that. So now when I gather eggs from the chicken coop to make paint, it does really feel like this interspecies collaboration, and I thank the chickens for the gift that they are giving me, the way they are participating in my own creative process.
– Br. Keith Nelson