A meditation inspired by the spirituality of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin on the world as created by God through the Logos.
John 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it… The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth… From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, when in fact we live steeped in its burning layers.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Introducing the Practice
The beginning of John’s Gospel teaches us a profound theological truth: Jesus of Nazareth is the incarnation of the Divine Logos. Logos is the Greek word that is usually translated as “Word” in John’s Gospel, though it carries a broader understanding. The Logos is the divine reason that gives order and meaning to the universe; it is God’s address to His Creation; it is the creative force of God and the agent through which we come to know and understand God. It is this Logos that John identifies with Christ. Jesus Christ is the Logos in the flesh. Our meditation today focuses on Christ as the Divine Logos through whom all things were created and in whom all Creation is held together.
The Logos meditation today is largely inspired by the spirituality of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955). Teilhard was a Jesuit priest who studied and worked as a paleontologist, geologist, and biologist. In fact, Teilhard was part of a team that discovered the fossils of early hominid species over 300,000 years old in China. Rather than feeling threatened by Darwinian evolution and geological studies like some religious figures of his day, Teilhard embraced evolutionary processes as a central aspect of his spirituality. He grounded his theology in a study of Creation, understanding Creation to be an evolving process. In Teilhard’s theology, Christ is the force holding together all Creation; He is the beginning and the end of Creation.
When you have gathered yourselves and are ready to begin, open this time by reading the Scripture passages for this lesson. Beginning our time of prayer and meditation with Scripture grounds our practice in the foundations of our tradition. You may then go on to read any of the quotations from this lesson’s religious figure. These readings will help to prepare our hearts and minds for the spiritual practice that follows.
Preparing for the Practice
If possible, do this meditation outside. Try to find a place in nature where you can see the stars and hear all the noises of creation. If this is not possible on account of your location or weather, change the words accordingly or improvise an alternative meditation of the same spirit.
The Spiritual Practice
Close your eyes and slow your breathing as you settle into the present moment and open your heart to a spirit of prayer and meditation.
(to be read slowly, clearly, and contemplatively)
Before Creation, there was God. Before any cosmic bang sent the energy and mass of the universe out into billions of particles – before the first stars organized, grew, collapsed, and reorganized into new stars – before the first life forms developed on Earth – before the word “before” made any sense, for time had not yet begun – there was God.
Now this God was not a static, isolated person. This God was a dynamic, living, moving God who was Love itself – a Love between three persons as One God.
Then something happened. From the Eternal Present came a measurable “before” and “after” with the creation of time. From the Divine Union came a multitude of diversity in particles, atoms, and life forms. From the Creator came Creation.
This all came into being by the Creative Force of God – the Logos. The Divine Word that is itself God. The same Logos that would one day take on human flesh as Jesus of Nazareth.
This Creation was not a one-time event – it continues each moment, as the universe continues to grow and change and evolve. That same Creative Force of God that brought everything into existence at the beginning of time – the Logos, the Divine Word – is the very ground of being that sustains our existence in this present moment.
With your eyes closed, breathe the air deep into your lungs and then slowly release it. The air of this Earth is one small part of that changing, evolving Creation that began so long ago and continues now. Your lungs are one small part of that Creation. YOU are one small part of that Creation.
Say to yourself, “I am one part of Creation.” Continue to repeat this to yourself, as you slowly breathe in and out. (10-15 min of silence)
Now imagine that you are looking down on the world from up above… You see the expansive continents of land and the vast oceans…You see forests, deserts, plains, and mountains…You see the many different kinds of animals running, flying, climbing, or swimming around…And then you see the people. Over 7 billion of them, each one equally a part of Creation. (pause for silent reflection)
Now imagine that you are even higher in space. Watch the earth as it slowly spins and orbits the sun. Recognize that the earth is only one planet amidst many in our solar system. Recognize that the sun is only one star amidst billions in the Milky Way galaxy. And recognize that the Milky Way is only one galaxy amidst billions of galaxies. (pause for silent reflection)
Now bring yourself back into this moment, sitting here on Earth, and slowly open your eyes. As you do, hold in your mind the knowledge that the universe is larger than you can ever imagine yet is held together each moment by the Love that is Christ. Reflect for a few moments on how incredible it is to be alive and how special it is to be a part of something as beautiful as this Creation.
Close by rereading the passage from John 1.
Duration: 15-20 minutes
- What was this experience like for you?
- How do you think realizing that we are all part of Creation changes the way that we treat each other? How does it change the way we treat the planet?
- What do you think it means for us to claim that the Logos – the Creative Force of God – became human as Jesus?