Season of Creation 2, Year C

Title:Season of Creation 2, Year C

 Season of Creation 2, Sept. 8, 2019 (full size gallery)

36 were in church on Sunday on a mild to warm September day. September is a main travel month at the church.

This was the Rev. Deacon Carey Connors’ first Sunday. Carey is studying to be a priest at Virginia Theological Seminary where Catherine went. As part of her training she has to train at a church. Her experience has been in large churches so St. Peter’s is a chance to experience the small church. In turn Carey has gifts of outreach, mission and education to bring to us.

Catherine introduced Carey to the service and Carey spoke on her own behalf at the announcements. The videos from this week include Catherine’s introduction (#5) and Carey’s talk (#9).

“Family Vacation” continued at Galilee. Catherine provided a slide show and also rocks and books from the region. The heart of Jesus ministry was in Galilee with the peasants and fishermen and where he appeared after the Resurrection. Bishop Curry when he introduced the “Jesus Movement” in 2015 wrote “In Galilee you will meet the living Christ for He has already gone ahead of you.” It is a missionary movement.” The videos from this week feature part of the Christian Ed.

The discussion moved into water rights. Water rights are strictly controlled in Eqypt between the Jews and Palestinians with the Jews receiving the lion’s share. Carey added that in Africa water is a previous commodity with women venturing our early gathering water for the day.

We started the Season of Creation last Sunday, after twelve weeks in the middle of Pentecost that focuses on our relation to God and the environment. The Season of Creation is an optional liturgy in the Episcopal Church. We had different readings and a different Eucharistic prayer – “We Give Thanks”. It highlights the role of God as Creator and Jesus dwelling in nature as one of us to bring us abundant life. The sermon last week focused on the role of nature in the Bible. “In the beginning, God designed a home, a home in which God dwells, a home in which God delights, a home which God calls good. The earth is God’s home…”Nothing goes to waste in this creation. All this creation has a purpose, and every bit of this creation depends on every other bit of creation.”

Dr. William P. Brown of Columbia Theological seminary wrote the following about creation care. “The fundamental mandate for creation care comes from Genesis 2:15, where God places Adam in the garden to “till it and keep it…” Human “dominion” as intended in Genesis is best practiced in care for creation, in stewardship, which according to Genesis Noah fulfills best by implementing God’s first endangered species act.”

Today the service was about God’s creation, the earthly paradise and our role. Here is the sermon

Psalm 8 today reminds that we are created in the image of God, and that we ought to reflect that image in our lives. In the way that God has dominion over all creation, so God has given us dominion over the earth. Thus, we are called to create, renew, and care for all of creation.

We have to care for creation as God cares for us. The Sermon included the children providing some art (Video #8)

“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.”

The sermon emphasizes we have to trust God and then secondly open our eyes. “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.”

Genesis 1:26-2:3

Last week we covered the beginning of creation in Genesis, Days 1-5.

On Day 6, land animals are created. 1:24 says that God caused the earth to “bring [them] forth”; however, in 1:25, God creates them directly. The creation story was handed down orally for centuries, and a tale varies in the telling. As we often find in Genesis, the author (or editor) is not afraid to include divergent versions.

 “Let us” (1:26) is like a royal we; the creation of humans is the climax of the creation story. Human is made (created) in God’s “image” (the Hebrew word implies an exact copy or reproduction); but he is also a “likeness” (resemblance, similarity). He rules over all creatures.  Human is to “subdue” (1:28) the earth and all that is in it. His rule over the animals won’t always be easy. 1:29-30 say that we were initially vegetarian. (God permits Noah to eat meat.)

Day 7 is the day of rest, a reminder of the Sabbath. God blesses the seventh day, thus setting it apart. There is no evening of this day: the relationship between God and man continues for ever.

Genesis uses “generations” (2:4) to mark important stages in God’s actions, starting with creation. The text shows him as creator in his total and uncompromised power, the intrinsic order and balance of the created world, and mankind’s importance and his key role in the scheme of creation. God’s creation is also peaceful, unlike the warring factions (gods) of Enuma Elish. The focus is on the emergence of a people; the earth serves as an environment for the human community. Genesis 1 works within the science of its time to tell of divine power and purpose, and the unique place of humans

Psalm 8

Psalm 8 reminds us that we are created in the image of God, and that we ought to reflect that image in our lives. In the way that God has dominion over all creation, so God has given us dominion over the earth—in that we are called to create, renew, and care for all of creation.

once again, when we limit our image of God, we also limit the understanding of our own creation—that we are whole when we are male and female, together, and that we are whole when we are caring for creation the way God has cared for all. We are a “little lower than God,” and given the responsibility of care for creation.

1 Timothy 6:6-19

Timothy, whose name means “honored by” or “honoring God” was a companion of St. Paul.  He accompanied Paul throughout Asia Minor and in Eastern Europe, mainly Greece.

This passage consists of two main paragraphs: First, the author describes behavior that provides contentment and mentions things that lead to temptation.  Second, he gives further ethical advice, which he labels “the good fight of faith” (6:12).

Powerful reminders  not to place our security in money and possessions (vs.6-10), but in godly virtues (v.11) reflected in our core relationships  – with God, each other, and creation  – and in the gift of eternal  life (v.12).

Note that is it is the love of money and the desire to be rich that are root of the problem (vs.9- 10). The media  emphasize that money and wealth will solve our needs. The love of money provides temporary satisfaction, but the love of God lasts forever.  Can we, as churches,  learn to be counter-cultural  in cultivating content  with enough (v.8) rather than always wanting more? Can the perspective  that we bring nothing into the world and can take nothing out (v.7), and that it is God (not our work or the economy) that provides us with what we need (v.17) help us live more sustainably?

During the time of Timothy, riches could only be acquired through continuous cooperation with the Roman administration. Those who were rich, therefore, usually supported a system that oppressed the vast majority of the population for the benefit of only few at the center of the Empire. Being a counter-cultural movement, early Christians opposed this system and envisioned a more equal distribution of material resources.

On the other hand, wealthy people were appreciated as “benefactors” in early Christianity. Luke mentions that many women who accompanied Jesus and his twelve disciples “provided for them out of their resources” (Luke 8:3). Likewise, the apostle Paul drew on the financial support of benefactors for his travels and missionary activities. He had a secretary at his service to whom he would dictate his letters (see, e.g., the brief greetings in Romans 16:22 by Paul’s scribe Tertius). That person was likely paid by Phoebe; she is introduced in Romans 16:2 as a “patroness” of Paul and many others, suggesting a person of considerable status and prosperity.

Material wealth can get in the way of putting one’s trust in God, and it can be a hindrance to following Jesus (Mark 10:17-22). Yet many of the church ministries and services depend on financial resources of those who are willing to share them. Therefore, those who have riches “are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19).

Further recommendations for behavior follow in the passage about the “good fight of faith.” The author of the letter suggests that “there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment” (6:6), and recommends “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness” that will lead to eternal life (6:11-12).

Luke 12:22-31

We are on a long trek that Jesus makes with his disciples to Jerusalem.  Jesus is constantly drawing on parts of the earth along the way– light, cup and dish, mint rue and herbs,  In Lk 12:22-31 it is the ravens and other birds, the lilies and grass of the field. Many of Jesus listeners had lost their land due to the high taxes and worked as day laborers on Roman estates. They were the vulnerable poor who did not know from day to day if they would have food for tomorrow.  Jesus tried to provide a good word by setting life into perspective.  Don’t worry about substance or getting by but work to the creation of the Kingdom. Worrying won’t add time to your life and you will be provided for God cares for the raven a common bird of the time or the lilies even though they do not work like the peasant.