9-6-15 Loving God’s Creation: Planet Earth Sunday

During the season of Creation, we will pay special attention to readings from Hebrew scripture, which describe a primal connection to the God of Creation. Paul reflects on that relationship to creation in this letter to the Romans, inviting them -and us – to a deeper gratitude to the One who gave us life and breath to all that lives.

Romans 1: 18-23 At the same time, however, God’s passionate and just anger is also being revealed; it rages from heaven against all of humankind’s willful impiety and refusal to honor God, against the injustices committed by people who actively suppress the truth through their injustice. For what is knowable about God is plain and obvious to everyone; indeed it is God who has made it obvious to them. Though invisible to the eye, God’s eternal power and divinity have been seen since the creation of the universe, understood and clearly visible in all of nature.  Humankind is, therefore, without excuse. For although they knew God, they didn’t give God honor or praise and never even said, “thank you”; instead, their reasoning became increasingly empty and inept, and their undiscerning hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. they  exchanged the glory of the immortal and incorruptible God for mere images—images of mortal, corruptible humans, and birds, animals and reptiles.

So God gave them over to their hearts’ desire—to promiscuous immorality to the devaluing of their bodies with each other.  They exchanged the reality of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what was created rather than the Creator, who is forever praised.   Amen.

September 6, 2015

Loving God’s Creation: Planet Earth Sunday

In the beginning was the Word. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. John and Genesis begin with these poetic faith statements. In the beginning. The words from Genesis are from what we call the Priestly Tradition, written while the Israelites were in exile in Babylon, the writer and the people trying to make sense of the chaos of their lives

And they make this beautiful statement: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” What a powerful statement. Walter Brueggemann, in his commentary on Genesis states that the main theme of this text is “God and God’s creation are bound together in a distinctive and delicate way. This is the presupposition for everything that follows in the Bible.” he says.

“God and God’s creation are bound together in a distinctive and delicate way.” Today and this month, this Season of Creation, I want to explore how God and God’s creation are bound together in a distinctive and delicate way, how all of God’s creation is dependent on, connected to every other part.

Today, before we have communion, I’d like to illustrate this connection, which I sometimes think was God’s first Word, how this connection happens in creation. I want to show a video that illustrates how wolves are connected to creation, and to all things, to birds, and to rivers. Maybe some of you have seen this video online.

It illustrates what scientists call a trophic cascade – ecological process starting at top of food chain and tumbling all the way to the bottom. Wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995, it started a trophic cascade.

It shows how wolves kill some animals, but give life to many others.

As soon as wolves arrived and were reintroduced, having been gone for 70 years from Yellowstone Park, they had remarkable effects. First naturally they killed some deer.

Deer started to avoid valleys and gorges where they had decimated the park and all the vegetation with their unlimited foraging.

As the deer avoided those valleys, the plants and trees there started to grow again, sometimes quintupling the height of the trees, aspen cottonwood and willow.

Birds started to come back in large numbers, migratory birds, song birds, and others.

Beavers also came back, since they love to eat the trees and beavers, like wolves are also engineers of the forest creating change

Beavers created niches for other animals, otters, ducks, reptiles, amphibians,.

Wolves also killed coyotes, which meant there could be a thriving of other animals, more badgers, more porcupine, more rabbits & mice, and more hawks and eagles came to feed on the mice and other small animals,

More bears came who fed on the carrion, but also on the berries from the increased plant life. Bears reinforced the impact of the wolves, killing some of the calves of the deer,

But here’s where it gets really interesting. The wolves changed the behavior of the rivers. The rivers began to meander less, more pools formed; the rejuvenated landscape help the bounds of the river stay in place. The banks were stablized; there was less soil erosion

The wolves, small in number, transformed not just the ecosystem, but the physical geography itself. That is how powerfully connected and interconnected God’s creation is.

 

Today, we share a meal that contains a powerful mystery. We believe that this meal given to us by Jesus, teaches us to share with each other, connects us with the whole cosmos, connects us to each other, connects us to all that exists, connects us as the body of Christ, even after we have done all we could do to sever that connection, even after we humans have abused God’s creation and denied our affinity with all that lives.

In this meal we celebrate the deepest promise possible – that God and God’s creation are bound together by the powerful, gracious movement of God toward that creation. (Brueggemann) This binding together of God and creation is mysterious, inscrutable… unfathomable on one level. We know it only by faith and ritual. Yet we know it, through the declaration of Genesis, given to us, declared by a band of exiles in Babylon, we know God’s irreversible connection to creation and our re-creation, our reuniting with God & creation, through the eating of this bread and drinking from this cup.

In this bread and cup, we remember God’s great faithfulness, morning by morning, God’s movement toward us, re-connecting us with the songbird, the river, the mountain, the fields, the beaver, and the wolf.

Responsive Hymn: 140     Great is thy Faithfulness