Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Trash: The act of choosing life or death

Job 38
Season of Creation
Chatfield UMC
October 2, 2016

The Psalm text appointed to our first Sunday of Creation proclaims:
Adonai, Oh my Lord, how countless are Your works!
In wisdom You made them all—
The earth is full of Your possessions—

Three small but powerful sentences!
What if we took these three sentences as our life’s mantra?

God’s creation is made with wisdom
Everything is God’s creation.

These words are on the front of your bulletin to take home if you would like to contemplate them this week.

In wisdom You have made them all.

I know what you are thinking? Wisdom? Everything?
Here are some examples of angels questioning God as God creates the creatures:

God creating seahorses
Give them a horse’s head
Angel: sure no problem
Gills and tiny baby fins
Angel: cute
Males give birth
Angel: what????

God creating praying mantis
Make an insect that does karate
Angel: ok
No make it bite her husband’s head off
Angel: dude we need to talk

God creating kittens
Make them really fluffy and adorable like little furry hugs
Angel: that’s so sweet
& put razor blades on their feet

And finally God creating dogs
Oh these turned out great. I’m going to want all of those back at some point.

So we might question some of these creations of God that seem not so wise to us: but we do need to take seriously the psalmist who did say: In wisdom God created them all.
Because while platypuses seem ridiculous to us and mosquitos are annoying and that neighbor down the street is down right mind boggling. Each one somehow is connected in this web of life that has wisdom as its core.

When we come to this Sunday in the season of creation: Ocean Sunday it is good to remember this, too. We are obviously a long long way from the ocean. So it is hard to get real excited about centering our worship around oceans.

But we have to, we have to live knowing that somehow we are connected to even the ocean. Even when many of will never experience an ocean or will experience once in a while at most.

I brought some shells that are arranged on the altar this morning because I was reminded of my grandmother as I thought about this Sunday.
My grandmother lived in Hudson Iowa. A little town right outside Waterloo. Grandma lived in and around Hudson all of her life. Always in a small town or in the country. Grandma never, ever traveled outside of Iowa except for the one time she came to see me in Minneapolis.
Oh she hated that trip.
She was so glad to get home to her little house and gardens

But do you know what my grandmother collected and studied and wrote stories about and shared with the school children in her home town???
Sea shells.

Her little front room of her little house far, far away from any ocean was filled with carefully labeled, carefully identified, carefully tended seashells.

I have the notes she taught from when the school children came to visit her. She taught them that the sea shells she cared for came from a place that was connected to them even though she had never seen it herself. And she taught them to be careful of the earth in the same way she was careful with her sea shells. Even if they would never see an ocean themselves. I remember this when I think that something has nothing to do with me because I am not near it.

So when we hear of the prayer vigil at Standing Rock to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline from going through the sacred land of the Sioux Nation we should think about adding our prayers to the collective prayers of the indigenous nations of the world who stand and pray and protect Mother Earth. Even though it doesn’t directly affect us.

Or when we see this next image which is a disturbing image of what is left over from a decomposed ocean bird. http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/08/28/plastic-waste-killing-birds-tens-thousands
This is what was in this bird’s stomach. Items that will not decompose. That will not return to the earth as the body of this bird is slowly doing.
We may never see a bird such as this, but we will drink sodas and dispose of the caps, we will eat chips and dispose of the wrappers, we will all have fun with balloons until they pop and we have to throw them in the trash bin.

How we do that, what decisions we make about how to dispose of our trash can make a life or death difference for another creature in God’s creation. A creation that was created with wisdom.

Someone has said that if humans became extinct the rest of creation would carry on quite well and probably thrive. Looking at the stomach contents of this bird, we probably can’t dispute this. However, we are part of God’s creation and we are part of what God made with wisdom.

It is our turn now, to return that wisdom with wisdom. How can we God’s beloved creatures made with wisdom act with wisdom in thankfulness for the gifts of God?
God has said: I call heaven and earth as my witnesses against you right now: I have set life and death, blessing and curse before you. Now choose life—so that you and your descendants will live—That’s how you will survive and live long on the fertile land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors: to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

You see we are all connected. All of the creatures made with wisdom by our God, we are connected and we will live and die, prosper and decline together.
Let us chose life.

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