I Wonder as I Wander

A Christian hymn written in 1934 begins with these words.  The writer wonders, as he wanders underneath an open sky how it is that Jesus the Savior came to die.  The hymn continues for four verses repeating a theme that makes me wonder.  The theme is that Jesus is God so high up and far away from humanity which is poor and humble and lowly. How is it that such a high up being could stoop so low to care about us?

John Jacob Niles adapted this carol from a fragment he heard while in the Appalachian town of Murphy, NC in 1933. He wrote his version of this Christmas carol in the midst of the Great Depression. The experience of being poor, of struggling, of life and death, of losing homes and income, of searching for food were the human condition for so many across the world. Niles wonders through his song how a God so high could bother with a humanity so low. 

I wonder about how that kind of separation in our thinking has served us: separation of the divine and the human, of power and loss, of praise and grief, of gifts and need. The tune of that carol is hauntingly beautiful, and it does affirm that the High God stooped to help poor humankind, but it leaves the separation there. 

I wonder how we might live our humanity differently if we saw the divine in each being we encountered. I wonder how our treatment of plants and trees might be different if we saw the divine in them. I wonder how we would think of each human being we encountered if we saw the divine in their eyes. I wonder how business operations in this world would change if we saw this planet Earth as our divine Mother sustaining us with all She has. I wonder how our treatment of people who can get pregnant would change if we could see the divine Mother in their eyes. I wonder how our treatment of LGBTQ people would change if we saw the Sacred Heart in their hearts. I wonder how quickly the war would end if Russian aggressors could see the icon of the Mother of God in the faces of Ukranians.

I wonder as I wander beneath cloudy, cold December skies . . . how the realization of the interdependent web of all existence might radically change . . . everything.

~Bob Patrick

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2 Responses to I Wonder as I Wander

  1. katrina yurko says:

    This is the immaculate birth conundrum. The major bridge between the “divine and the human”. So long as we are “broken” in some way, we humans will always need the divine to swoop down and rescue us from our own entropy and chaos. We will always be under the supreme powers that keep us in spiritual adolescence, that is, until we start seeing the divine among us. Thank You Bob, for helping us humans build bridges that reach into the divine.

  2. Rita Romero says:

    If only we can see the soul instead of the physical body. How would this world change?

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