Nature is also a sanctuary

Nature as an open book

Flood water. The burning bush. The tree of Shechem. The wind from Horeb. In biblical writings, natural elements are omnipresent. They are in turn actors and astonished spectators of divine action or human struggles.

Often, they manifest through their powerful humility the presence of the God of the Covenant. This observation deserves to be taken seriously at a time when our relationship with the “nature” that surrounds us is increasingly distant, due to our lifestyles and consumption patterns. But also increasingly problematic by the little consideration we really have for it.

A recent work* invites us to change our outlook. Its author, Patrick Banon, is an anthropologist of religions from the École Pratique des Hautes Études and proposes to return to the “origins of the sacred”, by recalling what the original myths of different spiritual traditions give us to think about nature. Antoine Pateau’s illustrations give the whole a beautiful energy, constantly inviting us to return to the source. Because nature is indeed an open book, giving the Holy Scriptures their density and their lasting incarnation. This is where the sense of heaven and earth is born, of an openness to the sacred which goes beyond us and which, in the Judeo-Christian world, becomes a divine holiness finally accessible.

* The origins of the sacred. Thinking about nature, by Patrick Banon and Antoine Pateau, Ed. Dargaud, 160 p. ; €23.

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