In his book, Rumors of Another World, Philip Yancey speaks of having undergone two conversions: “first from the natural world to discover the supernatural, and later to rediscover the natural world from a new viewpoint.” The second conversion led him to try to make daily life sacramental. This means attempting to see God in the world around us each day.
Yancey says, “Every day, every hour, every moment, I must exercise my calling to hallow God’s creation, whether it be leatherback turtles in Costa Rica or the irritating kid next door who peppers my yard with golf balls. Holy sparks are potentially trapped in every moment of my day, and as God’s agent I am called to release them.”
I think a lot of us are in need of the second conversion Yancey speaks of. We need to understand that the world God has created is indeed sacred. Likewise, we need to grasp that God uses what He has made to reveal Himself to us. There are lots and lots of “holy sparks” waiting to be released. But before they can be released we must recognize that they are there and look for them. In The Imitation of Christ Thomas a Kempis wrote, “If your heart were right, then every created thing would be a mirror of life, and a book of sacred doctrine. There is no creature so small and worthless that it does not show forth the goodness of God.”
Yancey also speaks of another effect of his second conversion. He says, “If I take seriously the sacred origin of this world, at the very least I must learn to treat it as God’s work of art, something that gave God enormous pleasure.” Normally we treat works of art with great care. Apparently many today fail to see Creation as a work of art. This is evidenced by the destruction of the planet’s rain forests, the pollution of streams and rivers, the careless elimination of animal species, and a host of other environmental degradations. God’s incredible work of art deserves far better care than it has received!
Throughout Christian history there have been a number of “great revivals” or spiritual awakenings where thousands of people experienced the first conversion Yancey spoke of. Perhaps what we need now is a great revival where people will experience the second conversion. I pray that revival comes.
(The image above was taken at Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.)