Wendell Berry - On God, Creation and Pleasure

Here is more from Wendell Berry's latest collection of essays, What Matters Most: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth. I will follow up on my post on a spirituality of sustainability from earlier in the week but this quote moves the topic forward until then.

"This curious world we inhabit is more wonderul than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used." Henry David Thoreau said that to his graduating class at Harvard in 1837. We may assume that to most of them it sounded odd, as to most of the Harvard graduating class of 1987 it undoubtedly would. But perhaps we will be encouraged to take him seriously, if we recognize that this idea is not something that Thoreau made up out of thin air.

When he uttered it, he may very well have been remembering Revelation 4:11: "Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."That God created "all things" is in itself an uncomfortable thought, for in our workaday world we can hardly avoid preferring some things above others, and this makes it hard to imagine not doing so. That God created all things for His pleasure, and that they continue to exist because they please Him, is formidable doctrine indeed, as far as possible both from the "anthropocentric" utilitarianism that some environmentlist critics claim to find in the Bible and from the grouchy spirituality of many Christians...

Where is our comfort but in the free, uninvolved, finally mysterious beauty and grace of this world that we did not make, that has no price? Where is our sanity but there? Where is our pleasure but in working and resting kindly in the presence of this world?

Picture: Crab Spider near the top of Mt. Spokane