Animal Sunday

Psalm 2: 18-24

Psalm 104: 24-34

 How much time and energy goes in to naming a child?
For some people, it is a matter of heading through books of meanings
    trying to find something that has the right connotations
Hopefully it also involves checking things like abbreviations and initials
For some people it means not actually giving a name to the child
until some time after the birth – to get a “feel” for the child.

Why? 
Because  apart from the fact that (deed poll aside) a name sticks with you for life
A name suggests something significant about the person
And so the opportunity to be the one or ones who name a child
is a most significant time.
The privilege is afforded to someone who is at least meant to be
in a position of great care, affection, protection and love.
Naming isn’t supposed to be a matter of control or ego
(though there is no doubt that that sneaks through every now and then)
In fact, when the women of the village name Ruth’s child Obed
it is an act of acceptance and assurance. (Ruth 4.13-17)

So keep thinking of the care and responsibility that is there in that situation
and let’s do a quick revisit of Genesis 2:

..After creating the man, the LORD God said,
 “It is a bit rough that the man is all alone.
I will make a partner for him, to share the load.”
……..So getting to work, the LORD God formed from the ground
all the land animals and the birds of the air.
The LORD brought them to the man to see what he would make of them.
The man gave each living creature its first name, and the names stuck.
He named them all: the wild animals, the farm animals, and the birds of the air.

Without getting caught up on the historicity of the myth
do we see what is being described in the relationship that is established
between humanity and the animal world?

Imagine – or remember –  the love and care that goes into the naming of a child
Do you remember the naming of any of your pets?
Do you remember why you named your pets the way you did?
Even in the naming of geographical sites,
the indigenous community especially demonstrates t
he importance that is given to naming a site,
and in that name we can see part of the relationship between the place and the people

In the same way that the creation story in Genesis 1 is about who stands behind creation
And the creation story in Psalm 8 is about praise
And the creation story in Job 38 is about wonder and mystery
The creation story in Genesis 2 is about relationship

This story links us with animals in various ways. 
First, we are made of the same stuff as animals; we all come from Earth. 
We all breath the same air, the breath or spirit of God.

We are located together in the garden, part of a family of living creatures.
God places the animals in the garden as potential partners of the first human. 
They are more than dumb creatures.    They are potential companions. 
And the first human names the animals as one names a child. 

More and more scientific research these days demonstrate just how close
humanity is related to the rest of the animal world

It is a strikingly simple call and reminder
for us to live in relationship with our fellow companions
in this creation we share.

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