Divine Spark: Sunday’s theme for Church of the Garden, June 30, 2013

With the 4th of July holiday explored meaning in the spiritual idea that all forms of life are a Spark of the Divine and Anne Lamott’s “third great prayer” — Wow. 

Listen to this podcast recording of the Wisdom Message if you’d like a taste of our Sunday services.

And there’s a short video from our very first service here.

During our Celebrating Creation segment, Jeanie Martin shared this warm celebration of our favorite herald of summer.  Enjoy!

Lightening Bugs

As a child growing up in the south, summer always started for me when I would see the first lightening bug.  They always seemed to show up about the time that school let out for summer vacation and we could play outside until dark.  My Mama and Daddy would sit on the porch and my sister and I would run around the yard barefoot chasing lightening bugs and catching them in mason jars that had grass in the bottom and holes punched in their lids.  We would try to catch as many as we could before Mama said we had to go in and get ready for bed.

After our baths we would lie in the bed we shared, our bug jars on the dresser.  We would drift off to sleep watching these magical beetles blinking their greenish yellow lights to each other.  After we would fall asleep, Mama would tiptoe in, take the jars out back and release our captives in the tall grass near the tobacco barn.  Sometimes I imagine what that looked like.  My tall Mama standing in the moonlight with lightening bugs flashing their thank yous around her and heading up into the tall grass and trees.


As children we didn’t know that flying insects showed up here on Earth 328 million years before humans did or that there are over 2,000 species of lightening bugs living on every continent except Antarctica.  We didn’t know that it was a special biochemical reaction that caused the lower abdomens of the lightening bugs to glow with bioluminescense, or that they lit up mainly to attract a mate.  We didn’t know that sometimes female lightening bugs would give a glow like the female of a different species only to lure in a male of that tribe and then eat him.  We only knew that they lived in the tall, damp grass in the summertime and that they had a special spark.  A spark that made us whoop with joy when we caught one in our jar.


As an adult when I see the first lightening bugs of the summer I rejoice that they have returned and feel a bit sad that their numbers are not what they used to be.  Pesticides, development that drains the wet, wooded places they need for laying their eggs and their larvae to grow, deforestation and light pollution have all affected their populations.  It difficult for researchers to say how much their numbers have fallen off as it is hard to count them.  The beetles are too small to tag, the females spend most of their life on the ground, and adults only live one to three weeks.  But in some places we do know they have disappeared all together.


Perhaps what will save the lightening bugs is for us all to feel the magic we felt as children when we watched them start their light show at dusk.  There numbers just might return when we understand that their spark comes from the same source that gives each of us our own special spark and that makes us relations.  Anything that diminishes the lightening bugs will also diminish us.  It is the Divine Spark that connects us all.  So I invite you to be like a lightening bug this week and let your light shine.



About Rev. Michelle K. Smith

Rev. Michelle Smith followed her own heart's calling for a Sunday morning service that is uplifting yet restorative and contemplative; where she could explore and celebrate the wisdom teachings from the world's ancient traditions as well as New Thought; a service that draws meaning from the natural world and grounds us in a sense of place here in the Southern Appalachians. She is grateful knowing that other hearts are calling for this service as well.

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