Words and Creation

iroquois-creation-story-and-words

At present I am reading in the book of Zechariah. It is a bit more hopeful than the wrath prophecies of the preceding Zephaniah and Haggai. What strikes me most is the frequency with which grace and peace occur, as well as, the focus on the concepts of mercy and truth (Zech 8:19). And when the prophet speaks of truth, the sense is one of justice and righteousness—making things right.

Much of the criticism that is made in Zechariah (and the reason for Israel’s demise) surrounds the unfair treatment of the underrepresented such as the use of manipulated weights for measuring the worth of merchandise, or taking advantage of another’s setback. The oracle understood that if a few possessed a great deal of wealth while others in the community were destitute, there was something very wrong with the manner in which the society functioned.

Eugene Peterson understands that quietness and mindful reflection in the presence of God is a far more powerful leadership tool than reciting platitudes and dogma, evidenced in the quote above. Too, he modeled a style of leadership that was collaborative, cooperative, giving space to others so that God’s voice might be heard through each member of the group—each who bear God’s image uniquely.

I drew the picture above for Samantha to bless her graduation. It depicts a version of the creation story told by the Iroquois (from which one of our ancestors may have originated). I love it because it helped me see the Genesis narrative in a beautiful and new way, and with a greater appreciation for the life that God breathes into all of God’s creation. A good account is found here.

My point? A lot of words are flying around the stratosphere, many vitriolic (and I would argue much of it is). But, I wonder if more of us would shut up and take time to sit in quiet, spirit to Spirit, and in the company of others to listen—just. listen. to hear stories of God’s graces and to promote peace, we might be more likely to possess a disposition of reasoned reflection, and maybe even make things right in this world. Is anyone willing to take some time with me or with a group of others willing to do the same? It is important that others hear accounts of a people who gather to listen, tell stories, promote peace and grace. I want to hear about it!

By Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).

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