Creator of earth and matter,
You both dazzle and hide,
You call both light and shadow to be,
You dwell on mountaintops,
And in the nooks and crevices of the mountainside
You speak in both fire and whispers.
Your very material creation –
With all of its dirt and blood
All of its smells and tastes,
Is a playground for thought.
And so we – graced, privileged, and called – play
At what must seem to you, sometimes, just games
Is God to be found in the world? we ask, almost serious.
Is the world the folding and unfolding of God’s immanence?
As we try our questions, surely you chuckle, Lord –
But I think that you chuckle because you like to play along –
That you are glorified in our play, even our serious academic play.
Only you, Lord, God of a richly folded creation,
Could be found in a place like Deleuze or Badiou,
Could surprise us in the pleats of French philosophers,
Could whisper in the creases of continental ontology.
Lord Jesus, you ‘snuck yourself in matter’ for our sakes,
That we might be pulled out of our flat absorption in immanence –
To be the ‘charged’ material image bearers of divine excess.
Help us, then, Lord, to be your disciples above all –
To discern what these texts mean for our discipleship,
For our being-in-the-world
And our being-for-you.
– James K.A. Smith Opening Prayer, Continental Philosophy Seminar, April 2003