08 November 2005

An Infinite Storm of Beauty

I went through some old files last night in search of materials that I want to integrate into my art and spirituality workshops. I ran across a file labeled "John Muir." Muir was a Scottish immigrant to the U.S. in the 19th century who became one of our country's leading naturalists. He founded Sierra Club in 1892 and lead the charge to forming the National Park System. It was amazing to me that someone who lived a century ago had such a profound impact on the landscape of the United States of America.

Five years ago, I organized a summer service about John Muir's spirituality of nature at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church entitled "An Infinite Storm of Beauty." This was my very first lay ministry service. The title came from a quote of Muir's which inspires me with it's great love for everything in Nature.

When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars, all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.
--Travels in Alaska, 1915

In the service, I celebrated John Muir's understanding that the land itself is holy, that we as human beings need to honor the planet which nurtures us. I had several participants read excerpts from Muir's own eloquent words. That day, my goal was to convey something of the deep reverence I feel for Nature and to honor the memory of one person whose words and actions have made a difference for the whole planet. I only hope that more people can be inspired by his example.

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