Saturday, 12 September 2015

Sermon for September 13th - Perfect Creation

Genesis 2: 4b-25

Well – what a couple of weeks!
While I have been away, visiting the family half way across the world, in America and Canada, things have moved on…

Today we get back into the lectionary again; prescribed readings and a sense of belonging to God’s Kingdom. Creation – the story that tries to explain how we came to be; how it is we seek to know our creator; how we seek to find meaning in our lives.
This is the second telling of creation – the order is different, God’s intent seems different, God’s emphasis is in a different place.
God creates the universe; and then, before creating anything else, God creates man. This version doesn’t say, “in God’s image” but it does tell us the it is through the breath of God that man began to live.
Next God plants his garden… including that tantalising tree – the one that gives knowledge of good and evil. And orders the man: do not eat of this tree; eat of any other plant, but not this one, for if you do, you will die.

Stark warning! Next come the animals and birds – to be companions for the man. And even though the man knows them, names them, cares for them, none was considered exactly right to be man’s constant companion. So, God causes the man to sleep, and from his rib creates woman. And all seems well.

Life is perfect
God’s creation was perfect…
So what happened?
How did humanity go from perfection to a world where some people have less value that others?
How did we get to a place where we witness death through poverty, injustice and greed and are not moved to act?
How did we get to a place where the ordinary people begin to rise up and speak out, because suddenly, it is not good enough?
Suddenly, we realise that this is NOT how God ordered things.

Creation. However you take it – either by a literal acceptance of the biblical tales (though, which do we choose?) or from the other extreme via the Big Bang Theory.
However you take it. We are here. All of humanity is here, and we sense, know, and believe in God’s presence.
I have no doubt that God created our world, and set us as stewards of that creation, and of each other. I also have no doubt that the world as it is today is far away from God’s original purpose, God’s original design.
 For, God did not call us to ignore the little ones; the less able; those who see the world, and God and creation differently to us.
God made us to respond to each other, to respond to God.

While I was away the world was rocked by the image of a tiny child on a beach. It should have been a happy sight: a wee boy, in the sand, playing at the shoreline. But it was far, far from that.
Aylan Kurdi was his name. He, and his brother and his mother all perished. And I know that you know this – but I need to try to make sense of it for me too. For this is not God’s plan – that families flee from persecution and lose their lives in an attempt to find safety. That to stay is worse than to risk losing all in a fragile boat on an indiscriminate sea.

And so – it is, the world has reacted. Oh how the world has reacted!

While the politicians keep on talking about it, the people have risen up and acted. Collecting points are springing up; individuals, churches and organisations are grouping together to take action. Food, clothes, shelter, essentials gathered up and transported to camps all over Europe.
And, the people’s voices are loud!
Clamouring for the governments to act, and to act quickly.

We have so much!
And nationally our country could act – if it had the will.
The knowledge of good and evil is a burden; before that knowledge there is innocence; afterwards, innocence is lost forever. 
We cannot un-see; we cannot un-learn, we cannot un-know the stark truth that evil walks the earth; that the perfection God envisioned is far from our reality.

So what can we do?
God’s gift to us, is the knowledge of GOOD as well as evil. All is not lost; Jesus' parable of the sheep and goats reminds us that what we do is known by God.
I was hungry and you fed meI was thirsty and you gave me drinkI was a stranger and you welcomed meNaked and you clothed me… (Matt 25: 35,36)
We know.
We know what to do – we act.
We give to those who have nothing
We welcome them; feed them, clothe them.
For when we do this; we do it to God.

You were all given a flyer today, with details of Borders Aid for Syria; this is one of many groups all across Scotland that have sprung up in the past fortnight. They are affiliated to a registered charity in Edinburgh and are acting to collect goods which will be transported to real refugees who have lost everything and are now in makeshift camps, seeking hope and dreaming of a better, safer life.
If you feel moved to act – then look at the list of goods needed and bring whatever you are able to church next Sunday, or to the café over the next couple of weeks. Take one of the flyers for a neighbour or friend if you think they too want to help.

God’s world may be broken, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. For, when we see hunger and thirst and need and we act – then we are taking God’s love and hope to the broken world.
God of the poor, friend of the weak, give us compassion we pray. Melt our cold hearts, let tears fall like rain, come change our love from a spark, to a flame. (Chorus, Beauty for Brokenness, Graham Kendrick (c) Make Way Music)



  1. I love especially your point about how we can't un-see or un-know, and I wonder if that's the curse of the tree in the garden. Just thinking...

  2. It's interesting to me that we went in a similar direction with what we each said, but we used completely different texts. I guess that must mean that there is a "core" truth. :-) Well done!