Wednesday, March 8, 2017

When God Drew a Circle

When God Drew a Circle

The geometry of water is circle, not square. Water curves. A puddle on the counter is round. Rain drops are bulbous. Ponds don’t have corners.  When I survey the wondrous Big Sur horizon, where ocean meet sky,sthere’s the faint hint of a curve.

 “I was there when God set the heavens in place, when God drew a circle on the face of the deep.”

The speaker is Woman Wisdom, the divine female, a central character in the Book of Proverbs. “I was God’s first act of creation,” she says, “and I was ever beside God, like a master worker, and daily I was God’s delight.”  (God delights in Wisdom!)

I was there on that first water circle day, she declares, standing beside God who puts the heavens in place, and drew the big ocean, the circular deep. (Prov. 8)

Too bad William Blake’s painting shows only God, and not Lady Wisdom (as her name was then translated, also called Sophia.)  But I adore how Blake puts in God’s hand a compass, to make the circle on the horizon face of the deep just right.  (The Hebrew phrase is literally “to use a tool to draw a circle” - God uses technology on Day One!)

For God so loved the ocean that God drew its circle, and the ocean gives us everlasting life.

Maybe Blake had read St. Augustine: “God is a circle whose center is everywhere, and circumference nowhere.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an essay, “Circles” in 1841.  Some highlights:

“Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a new beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens.”

“There are no fixtures in nature. The universe is fluid and volatile. Permanence is but a word of degrees. Our globe seen by God is a transparent law, not a mass of facts.” 

“We can never see Christianity from the catechism: — from the pastures, from a boat in the pond, from amidst the songs of wood-birds, we possibly may.”

The circle of God, the circle of water, the circle of ocean.  May the circle be unbroken.

I write these Blue Theology “Tide-ings” each Wednesday to celebrate ocean spirituality and stewardship.  Can you tell I’ve lately been immersing myself in mysticism?  Check out for info on our youth mission trips and adult pilgrimages in Pacific Grove.  Please share.  

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