He believed that God works through process and I believe we can look to Teilhard’s life and witness as our own lives develop and take shape over time.
Teilhard gathered up the seemingly disparate elements of his experience and synthesized them into what became his life. His life took shape through a process over time. Everything in his experience belonged and made him who he was.
He incorporated evolution into his theology at a time when that view was controversial. He believed that God was the beginning of the evolutionary process and that God was pulling the universe into higher complexity and levels.
I think about this process in terms of our own lives and the lives entrusted to us. What can Teilhard impart to each of us in the process that is becoming a human life?
The Three Gorges Dam located in China is one of the world’s largest power stations in the world. But this power station didn’t happen overnight; it took years for the planning and construction. And it took time for the waters to gather before they started rushing through the dam to generate power.
The image of this dam can be a helpful picture for our own lives. Our lives take shape over time as we gather the disparate waters of our experiences into the beautiful container we call a human life. All the experiences of our lives belong as they pool into a collective body of water that can then push forward into this world.
The good times. The bad times. The times of joy and celebration. The times of disorientation and loss. The various seasons of our lives. The many jobs and oddball things we have done. The many different relationships we have experienced. The victories. The mistakes. The things we regret. All of them belong, because God’s love holds us through all of it.
God has begun a good work in us and will be faithful to complete it, even if we can’t see the process. And especially when we wonder if anything is happening in the seeming chaotic and disparate aspects of our lives.
1 John 3:2 states, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.”
We don’t know what we will become, but we can know that we are loved. And we can trust the good news that God is gathering up the seemingly disparate elements of our lives and making them into something of such complexity and wonder that we could not imagine at an earlier point in the process.
None of us has the perspective to evaluate our lives because we are in the process of becoming. But we can know that there is a loving God who is shaping, holding, and loving us.
All of the waters continue to gather into the container of our lives. All of it belongs as a part of our story. And we cannot imagine the power it will and does generate in the world.
[Image Credit: Photo taken by Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI) aboard ESA’s Sentinel-2A satellite on February 16th, 2016. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons]