it is good for us to add a visual.
Sometimes it is good to add some sort of action.
It helps us lock in that the voice of god is about more than just seeing and thinking.
For today, I was thinking about working with a visual
to pick up the sense of the way that our faith is earthy, is grounded;
To pick up the sense of the very early readings of creation in genesis –
that we were created from dust, and we will return to dust.
Today, as we are very mindful of the sadness we feel around Beulah’s death
we hear the stark reality of the fact that our time here is fleeting
and that our bodies will return to the elements from which we were created.
But in one sense, there is no better symbol
than to be standing here with the bread and the wine in front of us.
We start the season of creation being truly reminded
that God’s incarnation with us as Jesus is much much more than “just” God becoming human
As if that isn’t enough!
The more that science takes us along the path of discovery,
the more mindblowing incarnation truly is.
We can start at the “God” end if we want:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Or we can start with an understanding of the son and his place in creation:
He is the firstborn of all creation, meaning he too is a part of the creation
Or we can start with some scientific understandings
which note that all humans, all creatures and even all things on this earth
are made of recycled star dust.
We are born of creation and we return to creation, from which new life can be formed.
But when we begin to hold these all together,
the place of Jesus is simply more than most minds or imaginations can hold.
Jesus – as the incarnational image of God is not just part of the human race,
but is part of creation. Jesus too is star dust.
And when Jesus asks us to remember him, and to celebrate together
in a way which makes him alive to us
he doesn’t point us to an act of singing or praying
he doesn’t point us to a building
he doesn’t even point us to important religious symbolism such as the cross.
When Jesus wants us to remember him and to celebrate together in a way which makes him alive to us
he asks us to eat and drink more of the stuff that comes from the same dust
from which we were created and to which we will return.
Back in Genesis, the story is told of Adam and Eve
and the story is told of Cain and Abel.
In both of those stories, the actions of these characters
have direct and profound implications on the very creation. Creation is broken, so to speak.
When Paul is writing Romans he is trying to call us back to a more profound reality than that.
The God whose incarnational, star dust image is the person of Jesus of Nazareth
This God is made fully known when emptied of power, and suffering along with creation.
And this God is the one who is experienced in full life through the resurrection of Jesus
Jesus isn’t just God come as human to save humanity
Jesus is God who becomes part of creation, to heal the whole creation.
I think we are growing beyond the picture of us needing to ‘care for’ Creation
with any sense that it is somehow separate from us
maybe in a similar way that I think we have grown beyond the idea
that God was ‘saving humans’ in the sense of being separate from humans
God became one of us
God became part of creation
And we too are simply part of creation.
Not separate from it, but integrally part of it
And so we will eat and drink, not of something separate from us or separate from God
but something which is also part of creation and something which the firstborn of creation has said is a way of celebration his ongoing life.
There is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost from holding on to an understanding of ourselves as separate from (meaning better than) creation
Instead, we can be fully immersed in creation and celebrate the fact that in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus,
God has acted so that all of creation can be reconciled.