Summary: A Harvest Sermon on the theme of protection our God given environment
Creation is a tremendous mystery. You can begin to understand what a wonderful mystery creation is when you get asked a question like ’Where did God come from?’ Now an obvious answer to that question is ’well, God didn’t come from anywhere, he has always been here.’ Then you read the opening words from Genesis:
’In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said ’Let there be light’ ...’
That leads to a straight forward follow-up question ’When God said ’Let there be light’ who was he talking to?’ Maybe it was angels working for him; or maybe he was talking to himself. So much mystery, so many questions in just those first few words of the Bible. And there are another 35 verses still to come.
I doubt if we’ll ever get to the heart of the great mystery that is creation. But I’ve always loved the story of creation, whatever you believe about it, whether you believe that the world was created literally as it is set out in Genesis, or whether you see Genesis as a story, a poem, doesn’t matter. There’s a pattern to it:
God said let it be
God made it
God gave it a name
God saw that it was good
The story is full of great images – bright lights in the sky, great waters of the deep, plants and trees, swimming creatures of the deep, swarming creatures of the air, wild animals and finally, people – male and female, made iin God’s image and likeness, whatever that means.
The whole creation – wonderful, mysterious, majestic, glorious – even down to the tiniest of animals and insects, birds and fish. It reminds me of a poem about a goldfish:
What is the point of a goldfish
What is it exactly to do
They’re not very fast
And don’t often last
And they don’t go well in a stew.
Would they like to shout ’boo’ to the postmen?
And bark at the sparrows outside
Or swallow the cat
thus becoming quite fat
and know what’s it’s like to be wide.
All creatures are special, you, me , goldfish, even the spider that appears in the bathroom sink and makes you shout with fear. The world God made in all its beauty and glory is special. But what have we done to it? What impact has humanity had on it? How has human greed and selfishness, human desire for growth and development had on the delicate balance of nature that God created.
Our theme for harvest this year is creation and its protection. And the windows around the church have been decorated by various groups to cover the days of creation. And the front sums up all the days of creation.
But why should we be bothered about the world God made? Why should we be bothered about the beauty and splendour of creation? Why should we be bothered about the environment and protecting the world? Why should we be bothered about the future of this world that God has given to us? Let me try to explain why.
Creation is given to us as a Scared Trust
We read in Genesis 1 ’God said ’Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’
As human beings God didn’t create us to be equals with him in creation, nor did he create us to be exploiters of creation. When God created human beings he made us to rule over creation. It’s important that we understand what God meant when he said ’rule’ over creation. We need to understand our place in creation. We’re not the same as the rest of creation, nor are we completely separate from it.
We often think that human beings are unique, having been formed by God, received his breath of life. But the same words are used for animal life as for human beings. What is true is that humans alone bear the image of God and therefore have the consequences. Humans were created not to exploit creation, not to have dominion over it in an autocratic sense but to have a responsibility, under God to preserve, sustain creation and enable it to continue and develop.
Creation belongs to God and has been given to us on sacred trust to care for. That relationship between God and us, that call to care, puts a responsibility on each of us to take the environment seriously.
Creations Reveals God