|Christmas Eve, Year A||December 24, 2019||The Eve of the Nativity||Luke 2:14|
|Advent 3, Year A||December 15, 2019||Advent 3, Year A||Isaiah 35:1-10|
|Advent 2, Year A – the Rev. Deacon Carey Connors||December 8, 2019||Advent 2, Year A||Matthew 3:1-12|
|Advent 1, Year A||December 1, 2019||First Sunday of Advent, Year A||Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44|
|Last Pentecost, Year C||November 24, 2019||Last Pentecost, Christ the King||Luke 23:33-43|
|Pentecost 23, Year C||November 17, 2019||Pentecost 23, Year C, Proper 28||Luke 21:5-19|
|Pentecost 22, Year C||November 10, 2019||Pentecost 22, Proper 27, Year C||Job 19:23-27a, Luke 20:38|
|All Saints, Year C||November 3, 2019||All Saints’ Sunday, Year C 2019||Luke 6:20-31|
|Pentecost 20, Year C||October 27, 2019||Pentecost 2, Proper 25, Year C||2 Timothy 4:6-8|
|Pentecost 19, Year C||October 20, 2019||Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 24||Luke 18:1-8|
|Pentecost 18, Year C||October 13, 2019||Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||Psalm 111, Luke 17:11-19|
|Pentecost 17, Year C – Rev. Deacon Carey Connors||October 6, 2019||Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||2 Timothy 1:1-14,Luke 17:5-10|
|Season of Creation 5, Year C||September 29, 2019||Season of Creation 5, Year B||Proverbs 8:22-31, Ephesians 1:3-10, Luke 24:13-35|
|Season of Creation 4, Year C||September 22, 2019||Season of Creation, Year C, Week 4||Luke 16:19-31, Amos 8:4-8|
|Season of Creation 3, Year C||September 15, 2019||Season of Creation, Week 3, Year C||Deuteronomy 11:10-17, Luke 15:1-10|
Season of Creation 2, Year C
Sermon Date:September 8, 2019
Scripture: Genesis 1:26-2:3, I Timothy 6:6-19, Luke 12:22-31
Liturgy Calendar: Season of Creation, Week 2, Year C
“Paradise” – Jan Brueghel the Elder (1620)
If we really believe that we are made in God’s image, then we know that we are to reflect the very image of God on this earth.
In the beginning, when God created us in God’s own image, God gave us the responsibility of caring for God’s earthly home.
Go and multiply, cultivate the earth, and have dominion over the creatures—not domination, but dominion—
that is, to care for creation as God cares for us.
Imagine a great circle.
God encircles everything else in this circle.
Inside the circle is a second circle, and that circle is us.
We human beings encircle the rest of creation, at the center of the circle.
Look at the word, earth. If you move the letter “h” from the back of this word to the front, the word “earth” becomes the word “heart.”
The creation is the heart of the circle.
And so for this circle to have life, the heart of the circle must stay healthy.
So that’s our job, to have dominion over creation as we have dominion over our bodies.
Just as we want to keep our bodies working well, God also wants us to work to keep creation well.
Jesus goes straight to the point about the most important way for us to care for creation and for ourselves. This advice seems counter-intuitive.
“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, or what you will wear. Consider the ravens—God feeds them. Consider the lilies, God clothes them. Do not keep worrying but strive for God’s kingdom.”
So take a look at this circle again.
Remember who is ultimately in charge—God.
So the first part of having dominion and caring for creation is to trust in God, who sustains our life and all of life. God’s kingdom is a kingdom full of life.
And then, as we remember that God’s kingdom is one of life and that God has put us in charge of the earth, we can strive, without worry, for the health of God’s creation, the earth and all that is in it.
For those of us who are rich, Jesus is not talking about complacent contentment without worry because we have everything we need. Jesus is talking about the fact that rich or poor, if we remember who is in charge, God—then we can do our work without worry as we care for ourselves and for all that is around us.
The writer of I Timothy says that we are to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share in order to take hold of the life that really is life.
Here’s an example of this sort of approach to life in the news right now. You all have probably heard about celebrity Chef Jose Andres who has a non-profit organization, World Central Kitchen.
When I was in Guatemala last summer, Chef Andres was there too—and many of the members of St Alban, the church I attended while there, were off volunteering with the World Central Kitchen to feed the victims of the eruption of Mt Fuego that took place in June of last year. The volunteers were preparing meals for the people in the communities decimated by the eruption of the volcano.
Since 2017, World Central Kitchen has served over 8 million meals, in over 23 areas throughout the world, bringing not only food, but hope and comfort to people who have lost everything, by working with local people, using local resources. World Central Kitchen food is always made fresh, never prepackaged.
Around here, many people, including some in this congregation, have put their property under easements that keep the land from being developed, and in doing so, provide protection to the river and wildlife habitats.
As we strive for God’s kingdom in this life, God gives all of us opportunities to be rich in good works, generous and ready to share.
So look to God, strive for God’s kingdom, and care, not just for ourselves, but for all of creation.
Second, we can only do this if we open our eyes and truly see what is around us.
That’s why, at baptism, we pray for inquiring and discerning hearts, and the gift of joy and wonder in all God’s works—and these petitions are part of our stewardship prayer this month.
Joy and wonder in all of God’s works is necessary if we are to deal with the anxiety we all experience at some point in our lives.
Paying attention to God’s works around us, the blessings of the natural world, is an effective way to deal with anxiety. In fact, one of the gifts that the earth gives to us is to take away our anxiety if we live with awareness.
Here’s a brief outline from the Japanese culture about how to become aware of the world around us—and this sort of practice is particularly important if we are always rushing around and stressed out and full of anxiety.
Leave behind distractions, including your cell phone.
Also leave behind your expectations.
Slow down and try to forget about time.
Come into the present moment.
Find a place to sit out in nature. Notice what you can hear and see. Notice what you feel. Stay for two hours if possible, but you will start to feel the positive effects of this sort of paying attention after only twenty minutes.
For us Christians, these directions can open a door in our awareness into the presence of God, as we “consider the ravens” and “the lilies of the field” and enter a state of prayerful gratitude.
In summary, we who are made in the image of God, who live in this great circle of life—here are our instructions.
Look to God, for we are made in God’s image and we reflect God’s image in this world. Strive to do our work as we believe God would do this work. God will bless our work. And may we do all that God has given us to do without worry, for God knows what we need, and God provides for all.
Dr Qing Li. Forest Bathing: How trees can help you find health and happiness. New York, NY. Viking, 2018.