Earth Day Sunday Sermie

Today, we get to celebrate God's creativity and the beauty of the earth.  It’s Earth Day Sunday today.  And in just awhile, we’re going to spend some time in Genesis, chapter 1.

Since the beginning of time, God has been breathing hope, beauty, and splendor into the world.  Genesis 1 sets the tone of the Bible.  It tells the story of God’s creation – something God did with thoughtfulness and intention.  God rejoices in sunshine and water and trees and people. 

Good to note: The first chapter of Genesis was passed down orally for a long time.  Then it was written down a long, long while ago, too.  Generations and generations passed down this story of a creative God to their children and grandchildren. Genesis 1 was written down long before people knew the world was round - long before people knew about the Milky Way and the reality of things like galaxies and black holes and atoms and neutrons and protons. 

Now we have all been blessed by the gifts of amazing scientists and geologists and astronomers who have learned so much about the world and universe around us. 

And the really fantastic thing is: now we live in a time with amazing access to God’s word AND amazing access to the beauties and mysteries of science.   All of it – the book of Genesis and NOVA specials on PBS and National Geographic – it all points to an amazing Creator. 

We celebrate our Creator God today!  And we also pause to consider the gift and responsibility of life on earth.    

As I read the first chapter of Genesis – I invite you to look at the photos around you.  Some are of all different parts of creation. The way the story of creation is expressed in Genesis, chapter 1 – new parts of creation are highlighted each day.  I invite you to lift up your photo when it’s the appropriate day.  A visual way to celebrate the beauty and amazement and creativity of God.  

As I read this text, I invite you to breathe deep and soak in the splendor of God’s creation.  Soak in all the details.  Every creature. Every plant.  Be thinking of what aspects of creation have been most meaningful to you.  Each day adds to the web of connectedness between all of creation. 

Today we celebrate God's presence in all of creation – at every spot on that globe, God is fully present and fully loving.  So often, it is easy to be consumed and overwhelmed by our own little segment of the earth.  Our lives and lawns and pets and worries. 

Today, we have a few moments to pause and reconnect with this giant sphere we're all living on.  We get to celebrate that our God is a God of the big picture and a God of the details.

The globes scattered around the sanctuary are a visual reminder that we are all in this together.  Every person on this earth gets to experience the gift and responsibility of being human.  Both parts are important.  Life on earth truly is an amazing gift.  And we also have responsibilities.  Even in the baptism service that wil take place in just a few moments, there is a section that highlights the commitment we make to care for creation.  

The roots of why we care for creation are found in the gospel lesson, in which Jesus describes two really important rules right before he is crucified.   He says, Love God - love neighbor.  How do we show our love for God and neighbor?  In a countless multitude of ways.  One really important piece of that puzzle has to do with the attitude with which we approach the earth.   

Do we approach it with apathy?  Do we approach it with awe, concern and care?  Churches around the world are celebrating Earth Day Sunday this month – and it’s about a whole lot more than recycling and turning off the lights.  Actually, at the root of Earth Sunday is love.   

Caring about things like: animal habitats, water quality in African countries, invasive species and air quality in China – these are not political issues.  They are love issues.  

God loves us beyond measure – and entrusted us with caring about every part of creation.  According to Genesis, Chapter 1, THE DETAILS OF EVERY SINGLE DAY were worth mentioning to God…EVEN THE BUGS...the creeping things that creep upon the ground! 
So, if we love God – then we love God’s creation – and we value God’s creativity.  And so we care for it
.  NOT out of any social or political agenda – but because we love God and we love others.  In large ways and small – through our homes and work places and churches.

The Genesis reading and Gospel reading reveal:  The world is really precious – and all the people are precious, too.  Throughout this week, I had a table full of globes in my office….People loved to stop by and play the "spin the earth and see where you land game" – pretty fun.  But another way to think of it is by spinning the globe and realizing that really – we could’ve been born anywhere.  We live here in Minnesota - but we just as easily could live in China or India or anywhere.  And so what we want for our little dot on the globe – is really what we are invited to want for everyone, on every spot on this globe.  We’re all connected.  There is no center on a globe.  Every part gets equal attention.  God created every person in God’s image.  And every spot in love. 

Earth Day Sunday is a reminder that we’re all part of this same, gigantic family tree.

On a globe, all the countries are outlined – and so it’s easy to recognize the divisions.  The world sometimes appears to be made up of "us" and "them."  

But the view from space reveals: we’re all just one giant circle in the sky.  

It’s WE.   There is no "us" and "them."  Just WE.  And we're all in it together – all given the same GIFT and RESPONSIBILITY of life on earth.   How will we embrace this gift?  And accept this responsibility?  

Earth Sunday - an opportunity to joyfully express the thanks we feel in our heart for the privilege of being inhabitants of this planet.  Thank you, God, for life on earth.  Thank you, God, for the responsibility of caring for your earth.  Thank you, Jesus, for the invitation you give us to plant the roots of our lives in LOVE of God and love of neighbor.  May we use this gift of life on earth to plant amazing seeds of love throughout all creation.  

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