Canticle of the Creatures

The Faith Connections Hike and Prayer on October 5, 2013, focused on St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures. The hike took us through two distinct landscapes: urban Toronto and natural Riverdale Park. As we walked along the edge of the park, we had a view of the trees in the park and, in the distance, the buildings of the downtown core.

According to St. Francis, all of creation glorifies God. As we walked along the edge of the park, I was struck by the beauty of how both the city buildings and the nature in the park were co-existing. It was the first time that I was really able to appreciate the city’s beauty. I was born and raised in a small city on the East Coast, and skyscrapers weren’t exactly part of my definition of ‘beauty’, which revolved around the natural beauty of beaches, fields and forested hills.

As we walked it occurred to me that there is a unique beauty in the skyline of the city, even though it is very different from the beauty I was used to. The words of the opening prayer reverberated: “I [the earth] invite you to walk across my landscape and sense the life within, the glory that fills my body – God’s presence below” (Norman C. Habel, “An Invitation from the Earth”, Seven Songs of Creation). God’s presence was in the city landscape because it had become part of the earth’s landscape, and I could recognize that presence in seeing the beauty. Through its own unique beauty the city skyline, tucked between the trees of Riverdale Park, was worshiping God along with the rest of creation.

— by Lauren van Vliet