Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Birds fly through the sacred

photo by Sean Hawkey/WCC

His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew, releases a kestrel into the wild sky on the Greek island of Spetses. The two kestrels released that day had been rescued and rehabilitated by the Greek organization Animas link here . One flew north, the other flew south.

Zeus released two eagles at opposite ends of the Earth. They met at Delphi, the omphalos, the navel of the earth.

"When will we learn that to commit a crime against the natural world is also a sin...for human beings to destroy the biological diversity in God's creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by contributing to climate change, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth's waters, land and air - all of these are sins."
His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew

two dark birds flew from Thebes.
One established the Siwa Oasis oracle in Libya.
One established the oracle at Dodona, Greece.
At Dodona, the bird flew to an oak.
The wind would stir the leaves, the sound
recognized by the birds as the voices of the gods.

"We have lost the spirit of worship. We are no longer respectful pilgrims on this earth; we have been reduced to careless consumers or passing travelers."
His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew

after the rain stopped, Noah released a raven. The raven did not return.
Next he released a dove, which returned, finding no other place to land.
He waited seven days, and released the dove again.
The dove returned, with a freshly plucked olive branch in its mouth.
Seven days later, he again released the dove.
This time the dove did not return, having set foot on land.

"A merciful heart...It is a heart on fire for the whole of Creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons and for all that exists."
St. Isaac the Syrian

and the birds,
flying through the Sacred
every day.

In June of 2018 Gary Lawless and Beth Leonard traveled to Greece to attend the "Toward a Greener Attica - Preserving the Planet and Protecting its People" conference, called by His Al-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, and held in Athens and the islands of Spetses and Hydra.


Marybeth Holleman said...


Chris Kerr said...

Wonderful; thank you!

James Lenfestey said...

Gary and Beth - I am giving a talk soon on my island, Mackinac - one of many - on "The challenge of Climate Change to Christianity." As you well know, there is little language in the stories and testaments about including other species and ecologies in our prayers and actions (an omission that sent Gary Snyder to Buddhism' vast inclusiveness), unless, like Bartholomew we read the "dominion" our frail human shoulders have been given over all species to mean, and I believe ti does, the responsibility to care for and manage. So heartening to be reminded of the ancient Greek view and especially of the current patriarch Bartholomew, who calls it out right- it is a SIN - the only sin I acknowledge - to destroy forever. His words, and your and Beth's work, are so heartening in this hard time - as Athens burns, the American west burns, northern Sweden burns.
Blessings upon your travels and words, Jim Lenfestey

Kristen Lindquist said...

Ah, birds! They lift their wings and hope enters the heart... Thank you for this.

pat maloney said...

Words to carry in our hearts and in our hands. Thank you.

Carolyn Gabbe said...

Beautiful, wise, compelling. Thank you.

Leslie Stoltz said...

Wonderfully inclusive of so many worlds and ways, Gary and Beth. Thanks for sharing this with me now, at this time, when we are hearing even mainstream news loud and clear point to "This is serious and we have no business ignoring it". It's in our face and our lives...no matter what is our spiritual foundation. love your mygrations....