Quote of the Day: In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he suggests that “We do not live to (or for) ourselves, and we do not diet to (or for) ourselves.” We are members of an earthly community of spirits who precede, continue in us, and will not necessarily die the moment that our own cells do. We live with the grace of and are in service to larger community.
Commentary: Biologists now refute or dismiss the notion that each human is a free-standing individual. They call us holobionts, assemblages of a host and the many other species living in or around it, which together form a discrete ecological unit. Most humans have ten to the fifth power more cells of bacterias, yeasts, viruses and molds on our within us than the number of cells of our own genome. Most plants and animals literally cannot survive without their symbionts. But today, humankind is facing is facing an epidemic of absence far more frightening than coronavirus or ebola, because our use of antibiotics has eliminated most of the beneficial microbes that would otherwise buffer us from infectious diseases.
Suggested Action #9: As you practice centering prayer or walking meditation today, offer a prayer for the “unseen” presences on or within your body—the microbes that make you the holobiont that is distinguished from all others. Celebrate the wild congregation –the wild church service—that is going on right now within your body.
Gary Paul Nabhan aka Brother Coyote is a professed member of the Ecumenical Order of Franciscans, a graduate of the Living School, a conservation biologist, orchard-keeper and story-teller.