In our Season of Creation services this year, we introduce Ross Langmead’s very pretty sung blessing “Evergreen God.” Langmead was inspired by Eckhart’s understanding of our spiritual growth proceeding cyclically through different paths.
Eckhart summed them up in four paths:
• via positiva, the way of fullness, gratitude and awe;
• via negativa, the way of silence, darkness and letting go;
• via creativa, the way of making and expressing;
• and via transformativa, the way of reformation and participating in change.
He believed that these different ways flow from one to the other and that our spiritual roots will deepen if we are aware of our cyclical journey – in other words, if we notice in what ways we are drawn to receiving and responding to God, who is equally generously present to us in whatever mode we inhabit.
“Evergreen God” uses plant growth imagery to invoke blessings appropriate to each part of the cycle:
• in via positiva, God’s energy and grace is falling on us like sun and showers;
• in via negativa, roots and seeds hiding in the warm soil know that God is with them in the dark;
• in via creativa, the flowers of creation delight in sharing in God’s creativity;
• and in via transformativa, our purpose in God’s service is like leaves that cast welcome shade for our fellow creatures.
Langmead’s musical setting enhances the warmth and sincerity of the blessing, the melody rising from and cascading back to its tonic note in a series of gentle waves, and the consonant harmony both reassuring and inviting repetition.
The Mustard Seeds have been enjoying preparing this blessing (not just because our choir is named after a plant!), as particular people come to mind for us when we sing each verse. It’s especially rewarding to sing a blessing that embraces all the diversity and mutability of us human creatures.
The next Season of Creation services are:
14 June – Humanity
6 September – Sky
20 September – Mountain
25 October – Blessing of the Animals