A Connected Creation
What is your favorite part about creation?
What is your favorite part about creation?
I don’t think that I have shared this before, but up until a pivotal moment in high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Ever since I was a little kid I have always loved animals. We had countless animals in our house when I was growing up and some slithered, some flew, some walked on 4 legs and some swam in water. That love continues through my life as our family still loves our pets as well as going and seeing animals in nature and in zoos and aquariums. So when I asked myself this question: What is your favorite part of creation I would have to say that the animals that God put in it are my favorite part of God’s creation. But what I want you to do right now is spend a very brief minute or two talking to a couple people around you and find out what is their favorite part of creation and why. There may be similar things we like, but our reasons for liking it might not be the same. So real quick take that minute to see what it is about creation that you and others love most.
Earlier in the evening before I wrote my sermon I happened to come across a video on the news about a whale watching trip where the people were looking at a whale way off in the distance and all of the sudden a humpback whale breaches and jumps out of the water right in front of the boat both putting people in a state of awe and amazement as well as completely soaking them with ocean water.
This creation is something truly amazing and what better way to start off our new lectionary, our new readings than with the story of creation. I also like that we are starting with the second account of creation. The two stories of creation help us understand God and our world, but the second story we have here isn’t the straightforward telling of creation that we think of when we typically think of God creating the world.
What is fascinating about this account of creation is that the earth was there and there was a stream that flooded the world, but nothing else existed and the first act of God in this telling is to create man. Here we are told that unlike the first account of creation where people were created as the ultimate and final act of God which is significant, people are made first, which is also significant and that God then created a garden called Eden for man to live in. Everything in creation seems to be put into motion as a way to help and benefit man.
Everything in creation seems to be put into motion as a way to help and benefit man. But what is also very different from the other account of creation is that creation isn’t ‘good’ or perfect
But what is also very different from the other account of creation is that creation isn’t ‘good’ or perfect as we see in the first account. God realizes that man needs more in this world than just him and God.
God has made man to be God’s companion and helper in the creation and man has done a great job in that, but even after presenting all the animals and birds and naming all of it man never found a companion of his own. God realizes that this isn’t a good thing for man to be alone and so he does something about it.
Isn’t that true for most people in the world? Something that was created in us, or maybe it was when Adam saw the other animals that he realized the need for a companion who was like him and that desire for companionship has been passed down for centuries. We are creatures that need one another. We are meant to be in relationship with one another. In my conversations with people through Bible Studies, Pub Theology and Coffee Theology as well as just general conversations, the lack of relationships and connectedness seems to be at the root cause of so much of our hurt in the world today. Whether it is people who hurt themselves or others. People who feel depressed or isolated for one reason or another. People who are angry or unable to see other points of view. There are so many ways in which our lack of connectedness, our lack of being in relationship with others can manifest. Relationships aren’t the only reason for some of what I have brought up, but they can and do play a role in some of that.
Our world today, now more than ever, has the ability to ‘get by or ‘just survive’ with little or no interaction with other people. You can have household items and food delivered right to your door. You can work and play without the need to leave your house. While that may be a good or even necessary thing for a select few people, overall we are social creatures who were made to interact and relate with one another. Blame God or blame Adam, the first man, but that is part of how we were created.
So God did something about this imperfect part of man and made him a suitable partner.
This suitable partner was, like everything else in creation named by man and he named it woman. Now up on the screens I had the Hebrew word for man which in the final part of the creation text is ish and the word up on the screen now is for woman and that is ishshah. We see that both man and woman in English share a similar root, but they do as well in the Hebrew. So even in just the names themselves, we see that there is a connectedness between the two and that in creation there is a yearning to be connected to one another.
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.”
Look at what man says in
Look at what Man says about her. He is so excited to have a relationship with someone who is like him. This account of creation doesn’t so much tell us about how God created the world and in what exact order God did it in, but more about the relational and connected nature of creation and most specifically the relationships between God and man and between people.
There is so much about our connected creation in this story. God created man to take care of the earth. So God and man are connected. The creation needs man to till the soil and give names and understanding to what has been created. Plants also need the rain to survive and produce. And man and woman receive life and meaning from God who created them. Formed from the ground but given life by God’s own breath. We can see our connectedness and our need for our relationship with God from the very beginning of creation.
May we embrace our connectedness and say no to those things that try to break us apart. May we be good stewards of the creation that has been given to us. May we put an end to an abuse of both our relationships with one another and the creation we have been given. May we never forget that we were made by God to be in relationship with God. God doesn’t mention anything else in our story other than the desire to have a relationship with us and with the creation we have been given. God created this world for us so that we might care for it, but also so we might see God’s great love for us. Know today and always that God has always and will continue to do whatever God can so that we know that God wants that close relationship with us and with all people and with this incredible creation God gave us. What an incredible gift it is to have both this world and a God of love. Amen.