My first encounter with natural delight changed my life. I ended up leaving my parish ministry in North Carolina to move to the United Kingdom. Since then, I’ve gone out into wildernesses and the countryside with increasing regularity, spending as much time as I responsibly can soaking in the natural world and learning how to delight.
We are taught that Christ tore down the gates of Hell. My memorable trek by Hekla, the Icelandic “gateway of Hell” has left me convinced that when he did this, not only were the souls of the faithful released, but so too was beauty. And like those souls, beauty so redeemed can never again be contained.
The parish — fabric, as well as people — tells a story about who we are in Jesus, which meeting in foodie conclaves in Austin simply cannot tell.
The earth is fundamentally a religious place — a place of belonging and of worship. It is a place of holy sacrifice, with its highest expression in the Christian sacraments, which “rehearse the solution that previous explorations of the sacred could not find, which is the self-sacrifice of God” (p. 20).