Ornaments of Grace – Dr. Brian Swimme

Ornaments of Grace

Presenting the sixteenth story for Advent in our continuing series, Ornaments of Grace: Stories for Advent and Christmas

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December 14 - Dr. Brian Swimme

Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior, and for you I wait all the day. Psalm 25:4-9

Dr. Brian Swimme, Director of the Center for the Story of the Universe in San Francisco, California, holds many impressive credentials as a physicist, cosmologist, and philosopher. More impressive than the depth of his learning, though, is the way he blesses us with simple stories about the earth and the ever-expanding universe.

The recent pandemic has forced some of us to slow down. Maybe we have had a chance to observe more carefully the world and the universe around us. Such observations can stir us to grateful praise of our Creator. Brian Swimme tells us how the Earth teaches us:

“Rocks, soils, waves, stars – as they tell their story in ten thousand languages and two thousand cultures, they bind us to them in our emotions and our spirits and our minds and our bodies. It is the Earth who speaks in all this.”

Yet, somehow, we know deep down that passively watching a show, no matter how good it is, is not the whole of living. We want to be part of everything. We want to be the creative persons God, who is Infinite Love, calls us to be in this great unfolding adventure of life.

Dr. Swimme tells it this way:

“Creativity has to do with breath, with walking, conversation and lovemaking, and childbearing. And for humans to enter into creativity fully means to also enter into an awareness of its awesome power! Really, the only way you can do that is by reflecting upon what creativity has accomplished in 15 billion years. It’s the same creativity that gave birth to the stars, the galaxies, the angiosperms. If you really get into that and then you begin to see the whole thing as a flame, you just feel it as this ongoing fire. And here we are in the middle of it!”

If we believe God is the Creator, the One who loved everything into being, if we believe that Jesus came to redeem us and all creation as Scripture tells us, then can we not believe that the earth and the universe are teaching us how to love?

Brian Swimme reminds us that each weed that pops up through a crack in the sidewalk to search for the sun after a long winter teaches us; each atom that joins others to become stars guides us; each star joining others in galaxies enlightens us. We can learn from our loving, diverse earth and universe to share our many gifts. Instead of living in fear of differences, we can be one. As one, we can rejoice in being God’s eternal bursts of life.

Dr. Brian Swimme is our sixteenth Ornament of Grace.

Observing the Beautiful Ornaments

What gifts of the Earth or Universe have you seen today? A rock, a rose, a star?

How can you help to keep the story of the Earth and the Universe a joyful one?

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