Every now and then life serves up moments brimming with so much glory you can’t help but cry out with Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “Earth’s crammed with heaven.” Last week was one of those times, a week piled high with goodness on top of grace (and yet there was a shadow of regret that Betty wasn’t there to share it all).
I was sequestered – gladly and gratefully – on Galiano Island, hosted by Loren and Mary-Ruth Wilkinson, all courtesy of Regent College’s Pastoral Science project (and thank you Templeton Foundation). The purpose of the week was to gather pastors together to better explore and understand the interface of science and theology, aiming to build the church’s faith through sound theology and sound science.
The intellectual stimulation, one part of the feast, was hefty and satisfying. We were invited into the wonderful world of molecular genetics, thought big thoughts on the philosophy of science, entered deeply into the biblical text, and explored ways to further the faith-building integration of God’s two books.
The company was rich and deep. As one new friend, Richard Dahlstrom, noted, it’s like a I found a family I never knew I had. This sense of welcome, of being at home, is the way Christian community is meant to function – that wonderful sense of stumbling upon friends amongst complete strangers, all because of the gospel.
The food was ample and delectable, each meal a delight of local (we enjoyed nettles in a delicious spanakopita), organic, home-made fare – my favourite had to be the breakfast pasta (seriously!). Who knew pasta would make for a superb morning starter.
And, of course, there was the venue, nestled along the BC Coast, picture-perfect weather and teeming with life (if you look closely on the photo below you’ll see the tail of a whale, perhaps a grey whale, just about to disappear under the surf). Simply savouring and enjoying creation was a vital part of the week and the project itself because, in the end, both science and theology arise from a common experience – the humbled and astonished wonder before the one voice of God spoken through his two books.