The Upper Room at Genesis Farm

Loving my Bible Friends, I often try to warn them of impending danger, even while knowing their situations of suffering offer insight, hope, holiness.  This Ascensiontide I think of my Bible Friends and wanted to warn them, “Don’t go to the upper room for the Pentecost celebration.  Go to the marketplace, scatter, go down to Jericho and play in the Jordan River.  Don’t go into that room together. You will be changed forever!”

But of course they do go to the Upper Room.  And the Holy Spirit comes upon them like fire and wind or something indescribable except by words like fire and wind.  Their Christian initiation is complete.  They finally give  themselves over to the Holy and go into the world, “beginning at Jerusalem” toward the “ends of the earth.”  All will be martyred, except perhaps John, although the tradition that does not have him living out his old age in a cave in exile on Patmos has him boiled in oil.   The idea is: this initiation by fire costs you your life. 

And one reason Christianity grew (besides the well-fertilized ground set by the dying and rising gods of the Mediterranean that preceded Jesus; Isis, Mithras) was that martyrs went to their deaths with integrity, often singing, in unity with one another and a firm sense of belonging to Something Greater than themselves.  The onlookers reflect,  “I want that.” 

sunbeamsIt’s Monday morning after my first weekend at Genesis Farm*.  Bill and I took the short course on The New Cosmology.  We’re asked to re-consider the fundamental assumptions of human beings and culture.  How is it possible that as a species we can set ourselves up for destroying our planet home?   We’re not “bad.”  Most of us. But we have a primitive and exploitative world view that has allowed us to use up forever non-renewable resources. 

We’ve poisoned the food chain.  We’re irreversibly set in motion a diminishment of species differentiation (200 species a day become extinct) – but it is bio-diversity that makes our life possible, destroying the principle underlying life on Earth.  While making the daily commute from Westchester into New York  City to provide food and housing and schooling for our children and families, we don’t SEE the devastation.  But day by day this diminishment threatens our own survival.

We “know” this.  Most of us know that de-forestation threatens our oxygen supply.  We “know” that the massive swirling mass of plastic in its componant parts is killing life in the Pacific Ocean (and the food chain).  We know global warming caused by our chemical emmissions will make earth un-inhabitable and human life impossible.  We all “know” this.

What Sister Miriam, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, and other theologians, philosophers, scientists, farmers, activists ask us to contemplate,  is re-thinking the very fundamentals of our world view.  I watched as other participants relaxed into this change of mind.  Many of us sensed the inter-connectedness and inter-dependency of the web of life as children.  And of course, mysticism is simply the experience and contemplation of that sense of one-ness.

I felt like I was in the upper room. 

What next?

Here at home, I toured all the gardens of Bluestone farm before anyone was up this morning.  I have a new appreciation for the hard work the sisters do here: prophetically “re-skilling” themselves for a future that isn’t based upon petroleum products.  It is hard work.  It is part of what Thomas Berry calls “The Great Work.”  It is our work.

*see www.genesisfarm.org

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