Broad Brook Congregational Church
June 15, 2014
How many of you, tell family stories during gatherings?
Did your children ask to hear stories about you when you were young?
Do the grandchildren ask to hear stories about the “olden days?”
Elizabeth once asked me if I wore those high button black shoes that she had seen in a picture? Charles asked if I had a helmet on when he saw a picture of me from the early 80”s. No, I said that is my hair! Remember the days of the “big hair?”
I have fond memories of my siblings and me sitting around our large dining room table after a holiday dinner and asking our parents to tell us stories. Later, I was sent into fits of giggling when my future in-laws revealed stories about the young man I loved when he was a teenager.
Next it was my children’s turn to ask for the same stories over and over about my husband and me. Now it is the grandchildren who come begging to hear the family stories.
These stories are important to our offspring and us. They tell who we are and where we came from and how those stories from the past have shaped us into who we are now and who we are becoming. While our stories have influenced us, they also have been influenced to a certain degree by the culture surrounding them.
Such is the case of our story in Genesis. The biblical story of creation is a push back against the Babylonian creation story called Enuma Elish. It is a story of the god of chaos Tiamet who is thwarted by the god of cosmic order, Marduk.
At the time Genesis was written some 2500 years before the birth of Jesus, the ancient Israelites were under the rule of the Babylonians. Wanting to show the power of the one true God, the Israelites were saying to the Babylonians, through Genesis, that it was not Marduk but Yahweh, our God, who brought order out of chaos.
The Babylonians children heard their creation as one that was bloody and violent. The Israelite children on the other hand heard a beautiful story of creation that was good and blessed.
Our Psalm this morning is a companion to the Genesis story for it speaks of God’s awesome creative powers, God’s great works, and the love God has for humanity. It also talks about the relationship between humans and God.
Through the author of the Psalm, we hear the voices of the worshipers praising God.
We also hear creation as an outpouring of God’s love and God Herself admiring it. We hear voices today in science and religion that offer different versions of our origins. But, if we take the time to stop the debate and listen, we might just hear the main point which is: no matter how long it took or by what process it occurred, we were created by a loving God in goodness.
Because God declared creation good aren’t we called to care for this earth, to not abuse it.
The limits of language and science hinder us in explaining our origins. If we reflect theologically on our beginnings, we come to the realization that using only scientific methods to explain where we all came from fails to answer the question.
More importantly, have we failed to see the works of God in and under creation?
I believe it is a miracle that humans and this terrestrial ball on which we live exist at all.
We have been given the beautiful and miraculous gift of life, of a creation that provides for all our needs.
However, implicit in this gift is a trust. God has trusted us with the care of this good creation. Have we become consumers of rather than good stewards of the earth and its inhabitants?
Does it make a difference to creation, one way or another, how we understand our role—our place—in God’s good creation? It should matter to us as Christians and it should matter to us in terms of our legacy to our children’s children.
What stories will our great-grandchildren tell their grandchildren about us?
The notion that how we view our role really doesn’t matter because we won’t be around is unacceptable.
As Christians part of our belief system is that God had a significant hand in creation (whether it took 7 days or billions of years) and is still a creating God.
Therefore, we must stop acting like consumers and begin acting like caretakers. We can’t keep consuming the earth’s resources at the rate we are today.
We cannot continue to contribute to the extinction of endangered species. There is a delicate balance to our ecosystem and if humans continue to disregard the importance of maintaining that balance, the story will not be a pretty one.
From my perspective, it is the commercial enterprises of the world with their policies and practices that are the biggest participants in the consumer mentality.
And even though we all know about the problem and I believe we do our part in terms of recycling, the global church has remained silent.
The UCC, one of the early proponents of justice issues, has begun a justice program called Green Justice Congregations, which helps churches, families, and communities to be environmentally friendly.
Social, Racial and Economic justice programs are also active within the UCC.
I think it is important for us to know the ways in which our denomination is working toward being good stewards of God’s amazing creation.
From time to time I will be bringing you news of what is going on in the wider church. I realize that as a small church, we cannot take on large projects but even if we take a few small steps toward being better stewards of creation either here, at home, or in the community every step counts in recognizing our role as protectors of this amazing gift we have been given.
I love riding to church along Frog Hollow Rd and Chamberlain Highway. I drink in the smell of freshly mowed hay. My eyes take in the images of cows, chipmunks, birds, a family of Canadian geese and their brood of growing offspring, and yes even a bald eagle one day.
I watch with wonder as the newly planted crops emerge and are nourished by the rain and the sun. I thank God for all the miracles I see along my travels.
The past few days I have been in Halifax, MA visiting with my daughter and her family.
On Thursday night, Toby, their beagle, came in the house holding something in his mouth.
It was a baby rabbit only a day old. It was alive and unhurt. None of us could just turn the little thing out in the cold. At 11:00 at night my son-in-law with flashlight in hand was outside in the woods trying to find the nest but couldn’t. We made a safe and cozy nest as best we could in a cardboard box and hoped to return the baby to its nest in the morning. The nest was found but there were no other babies and no sign of the mother.
Off we went to the pharmacy to get some kitten milk and a nursing kit for infant animals.
Each day we held little hope that this miracle of God’s creation would survive.
This is now day 5 and this little tyke has such a strong will to survive that he even climbed out of the little nest we had made. Mind you his eyes are still not open and won’t be for another 5 days.
I never cease to be amazed with God’s creation. This bunny may still not survive but what he has taught us about love and caring for all God’s creatures will remain with us forever.
What difference does it make that God proclaimed creation good? To me, and I hope also to you,
it makes all the difference in the world. One step at a time we can change from consumers to caretakers of this good Creation.
These are just a few of my thoughts about God’s good Creation that I pass along to you in the greatest of hope. I would enjoy hearing some of your stories.