Musical prelude and Sermon

 

Sermon – September 12, 2021

Genesis 1:26-28

Growing up close to a great many lakes and in close proximity to the forests of Northwestern Ontario, I developed a fondness for the wilderness. But I also had instilled in me a deep respect for how dangerous nature can be.

I am certain a great many of you have had the same experience. The very real danger posed by the river or Lake Erie. The stories of how it only takes a split second for an enjoyable day to turn into heartbreak and horror.

Spending two decades working for a community newspaper I hear more than my fair share of such stories.

The simple fact is, nature; this world that we are a part of is quite indifferent to our individual lives.

We can be lured by the beauty and the magnificence of the lakes, the trees, the vistas and the way things change with the different seasons.

But, if we are not respectful. If we are not paying attention, it can get pretty dangerous.

Now. Let’s be clear this is not intended as a warning about the perils of the natural world.

But, when Genesis tells us God put humanity in dominion over the rest of creation; depending on the translation, to rule over creation; we need to carefully reflect on what that actually means.

Clearly in the last few millennia we humans have become very adept at altering our environment. We don’t always consider the ways we are changing the environment and spend even less time considering what that means in the long term; but we have the means to change our environment in remarkable ways. We often push other species aside to make room for ourselves.

But as much as we can and do exploit the environment; God’s creation. As much as we are able to alter this environment; God’s creation. We must still live and play in it. And we can be overcome by it.

Earlier I used the word indifference. Our environment keeps acting and reacting. It does what it was designed to do. Our individual lives can seem quite small and powerless in the midst of that. We need to respect the power of God’s creation.

But, we too are often indifferent to our impact on our environment. We don’t think of the consequences on the squirrels and rabbits, the birds and the fields and the trees, or the fish of the lakes and rivers.

Again, we need to respect and live with respect in creation.

God created us in love. God created the world in love. We are intended to work in harmony with the rest of God’s creation. Somehow, and I leave it to people with greater insight than I seem to possess to determine just how it happened, but somehow, we as a species have, in general, separated ourselves from our environment. We see ourselves and our environment as distinct entities. We have lost sight of how we are so deeply connected. Who we are, how we live, is so deeply connected to the environment in which we live and grow.

A few weeks ago, Ellie, Elizabeth and I drove back to northwestern Ontario to visit family. Now, we all are so very happy to make our homes here in Dunnville, or in Elizabeth’s case in Hamilton. But, all the same as we made our way north and started to see rock cuts, started to see proper pine trees and spruce trees.

As we saw the lakes and the forests that are part of our growing up, we felt like we were returning home. Sometimes the place you were born, the place you were raised becomes part of who you are. We are deeply connected to our environment. Perhaps this sounds obvious. Of course we are connected.

But if we are connected; and we know we are connected, we need to start acting more like we are connected. We need to demand that corporations and government act like humanity is connected to the world far more than is happening right now.

I shouldn’t need to list the many ways we are experiencing climate crises. This is not a partisan issue. We are altering our environment and it is affecting how we live and work and play in God’s world. We are called to live with respect in creation.

God created all of this win love. How will we respond in love moving forward?

 

Music provided with permission through licensing with CCLI License number
2701258 and One License # A-731789