Let the waters teem with living creatures and let birds fly
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Psalm 66: 7 – 18
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let the rebellious not exalt themselves.
8 Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
you laid burdens on our backs;
12 you let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
14 those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.
17 I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
Genesis 1: 20 – 23
20 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
John 14: 15 – 21
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Easter
Saying yes to life: What more can we do?
In the beginning God created…
Over the past few weeks we have been revisiting the story of how the world came into being. We have been thinking about how God brought order out of chaos, and how the mechanisms of the world…all the delicate intricacies of life are provided for in the skies above, the waters below, and the land in between.
We know from scientists and from our own observations that the world we grew up in is changing….we can tell for ourselves that the seasons seem different, the winter though warmer was dull and grey throughout, last summer though cooler was wet and grey and windy…the birds have changed…we now see seagulls in the towns, cities, and my back garden…and I haven’t seen a wild owl for years…
There are plenty of signs, if we choose to see, telling us that things aren’t as they ought to be in the natural wild. Beaches full of debris, bins full of single use plastic, clothes discarded before they’ve had a chance to wear in let alone wear out.
The behaviours of some of the most inconsiderate animals leave a lot to be desired…I remember going round Longleat when my children were small and being struck by one of the signs it said “the worlds most dangerous animal…it’s you!”
That sign made me go away and think about how Human Beings could possibly be the most dangerous animal on earth and as I contemplated these words I was struck by the news of how our greed for palm oil was decimating natural habitats such as the rain forest in different parts of the world, I remembered how as a teenager I was drawn to the work of the world wildlife fund and their quest to try and prevent animals and birds from becoming extinct. Disturbingly, I recalled how make-up companies experimented their products on animals causing pain and irritation, not to mention all the other products that are tested on animals as well.
In the news over the past few years there have also been a few stories about the welfare of the animals that are kept as food resources for us to eat…battery hens…caged calves to name but two.
It’s as if there’s a consciousness trying to tell us, trying to get our attention, trying to wake us up to the bad practice that is going on all over the world. We have forgotten the charge that we have been given…to be a blessing to our neighbour, and how might we do that? We remember the teachings of Christ. Just for a moment…think about what it was about Christ that won you over to him…what was the message he gave that spoke to your heart, that called you into a deeper understanding of who he is and what he finds important?
…To follow Christ is to follow the heart of God, we have learnt that to love God we are called to love our neighbour…and how do we do that? We serve our neighbour…
Typically, we understand neighbour to be a Human Being….but I want to challenge this for a moment! As many of you know, I think that the Psalms are really important. They help us to be authentic before God and they helps us to understand Gods love for us…it is important that we read the Psalms and commit some of them to heart so that they might be on our lips. In the Psalms we find there is a lot of language about nature, they talk about different birds, they talk about fish. The context is often that they glorify God, they help us to understand Gods love for the world and all the creatures he created. In verse 22 we read the first blessing God bestowed was to the animals of the sea and of the air…they are blessed by God. How is it then that we think we have the right to harm them in any way?
I began by asking: what more can we do? We each of us are being challenged through this series to take more seriously the way we care for the world and all creatures as well as ourselves…I wonder…is there a small change you can make either directly in your garden…in your shopping for food, clothing or other items…the way you manage your household that would help the environment in some way, that would begin to demonstrate a respect for the world we live in rather than taking it for granted?
I’m going to ask Jonathan if he would play some music for us as we contemplate our relationship with the world…and ask God to show us one thing we could do or change that would bring us into a better relationship that honours and respects the world more than we do right now…Jonathan
Rev’d Caroline Husband