The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 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.”
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Some Pharisees came, and to test Jesus they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
Prayer: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
In Hebrew, the Book of Genesis is known as the
“Book of the Beginning of Everything”. And it is.
It’s about proving the reality of our Creator God.
Genesis was not written, 3000 year ago, as a pseudoscience text.
It was written as a statement of Faith, of this simple Truth:
God is real and God really wants to be involved in our lives.
Today’s readings focus on life and on Creation…
Adam and Eve and children and the Earth
Our lectionary assumes that we know God said:
“… “Let us make humankind in our image…so that
they may authority over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, … and …the creatures that move along the ground.”
We Episcopalians tend against the soft anti-intellectualism,
common in Bible churches.
They tend to value “heart knowledge”,
While we emphasize “head knowledge”.
But it’s not an “either-or” proposition!
It’s not of question of one or the other, but rather of letting the
Holy Spirt fill us with wisdom …
As we seek the best blend of the “heart” and the “head”.
Today’s readings remind us that God gave people authority
over Her creation, and that we are God’s agents,
in exercising that authority.
When we reach a certain age, God expects us to act like adults.
But, yet, Jesus reminds us that we are God’s Children.
We must be grown-ups, but we must be willing to accept
The Father’s guidance and authority … and be
willing to follow His lead, in our everyday lives.
It’s a huge challenge.
We’ve made some theological and reality adjustments,
over the centuries, but essential questions endure:
- How are we to live, as God’s agents here on earth.
- What are our responsibilities?
- What would God do?
Pope Francis once urged the world’s industrial nations,
To exercise caution in their exercise of power,
over the earth and the life on it.
Francis declared that as Consumers and Capitalists,
We are called to exercise a Godly form of dominion.
His concerns are both subtle and wise.
As we fill our stomachs with fast food, and worry about our weight,
And Blast down the road in our F250’s,
and worry about the cost of gas…
God’s calls to aid the immigrant, the poor and the sick,
to feed the hungry, and to exercise a respectful dominion over
this wonderful blue and green world, our Island Home.
There is a hard Truth in the Pope’s words. How can we live?
We are everyday Joe’s and Janes.
How are we supposed to exercise dominion, anywhere?
Where are we to find love and charity and patience?
How are supposed to keep our eyes and ears open?
How do we thrive in God’s Kingdom?
How can we hear God’s quiet voice, as powerful human and
demonic forces, exercise dominion, blinding and
deafening us with white-hot nonsense,
endless TV and Internet racket?
We must not, the Pope calmly pointed out, accept the
“… dominion [of money] over ourselves and our societies”.
I’ve got a badly worn out right thumb joint.
This week I went to my doc to get a shot in that joint.
That shot really hurts, for ten minutes, but after that,
My thumb joint way less, for months and months.
It’s a little bit of trouble for a whole lot of cure.
A little expense, for a lot of cure.
Awhile back, I was talking with a younger more liberal friend,
Who’d been assigned to work at a conservative Bible church.
He was nervous about preaching.
He told me that one afternoon, after a few hours in the church office,
he grabbed a Bible, his sermon notes and a notepad,
and drove to his favorite microbrewery.
The waitress who brought him his beer, noticed his collar and said,
“I thought people who go to church don’t drink.”
So my friend explained that he was actually working on his homily,
And the Episcopalians are allowed to drink (in moderation!).
She said, “Oh! You’re Episcopalian! I see you guys here all the time!”
A cool beer and a bagel are very nice.
We have been given much, and God asks much of us.
That’s a fair deal, I think!
The least we Christians can do is to get along,
and work together as one Godly people.
Whoever we are, Whoever we may be,
God has called us to work together,
Whatever church we call home, Whatever political party we may claim,
Whatever our skin tone, or language, Right here. Right now.
God calls us to boldly live out our vocation as Her agents.
That is Who God calls us to be.
We are called to work on, and with,
but we are also called to celebrate, God’s creation.
There are many ways to do both.
Enjoy a nice cold beer, and a Pizza,
in that little brewery in Belton.
Or help a neighbor mow their yard.
Or volunteer to help water a Community Garden, here,
if we can get one built.
We have much to celebrate at St. Christopher’s.
We have much to love, to celebrate and protect:
The amazing kaleidoscope of our lives together.
The rolling forests, and trees of the Hill Country and
clear flowing streams.
A horse’s neigh. A bald eagle’s cry. A gray whale. A fierce wild cat. Wildflowers, and peacocks, and a fresh brown egg.
A symphony concert, in the Kansas prairie, or 70’s rock and roll.
Kurt Vonnegut and St. Paul, Van Gogh and Da Vinci.
“God saw everything that She made, and indeed, it was very good!”
That good stuff includes each and all of us.
It’s time we lived up to our potential.
Job was probably the most unfortunate guy who ever lived.
One day he was whining about his bad luck and God said: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth,
[and] …the morning stars sang together?”
God was reminding Job that life was good. And it is!
God reminds is that we have been charged as caretakers
of His good Creation.
I once heard an old Jewish fable…it goes like this:
As Noah was loading the Ark… with camels, and birds,
snakes, goats, dogs and cats,
he was having a running chat with God.
When Noah saw a pair of tiny gnats, flying up the ramp,
He says to God: “What about the gnats?
What possible use are they?”
But God replied:
“Save the gnats, Noah. They hold secrets you’ll never know.”
I’ve known a few conservationists that seemed kind of fanatic.
But there is some truth when they say, in their line of work.
“all victories are temporary, and all defeats are permanent.”
Look at your children and grandchildren…. And remember …
we are called to look after Creation,
If not for ourselves, for them, and all the
generations to come.
This is a job for all of us. Not just the privileged few.
I used to hear God’s voice when I rode in the hills,
Above the mighty Kern River, or in the mountains.
God has spoken to me, even though I’m no one special.
If He talks with me, he’ll talk with you. Just ask.
For yourselves, and for the generations to come,
Listen for the secrets only the little gnats can tell.