The whole world singing: A journey to Iona and Taizé

Living in the sound of praise

I’ve often wondered what sort of conversation Protestant Reformer John Calvin and Catholic Bishop Francis de Sales would have had if they had met. These humanist scholars were both trained in law, were both afire with the love of God, and both ended up in Geneva, Switzerland, though separated by a generation.

Both Calvin and de Sales delighted in the role played by all created beings in singing the glory of God. Calvin, in his commentaries on the Psalms, and de Sales, in his Treatise on the the Love of God, emphasized a rich theology of divine providence and saw God as intimately involved in loving and sustaining the natural world. Calvin spoke of the world as a theater of God’s glory; de Sales spoke of beauty as God’s way of attracting the affection of all creation.


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