Creation Fully Alive!
October 7, 2018
Scripture: Readings from Genesis 1
(On the fifth day God said) “Let the water be filled with many kinds of living beings, and let the air be filled with birds.” So God created the great sea creatures, all kinds of creatures that live in the water, and all kinds of birds. And God saw that it was good. He blessed them all and told the creatures that live in the water to reproduce and to fill the sea, and he told the birds to increase in number. Evening passed and morning came—that was the fifth day.
Then God commanded, “Let the earth produce all kinds of animal life: domestic and wild, large and small”—and it was done. So God made them all, and God saw that it was good.
Then finally God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have responsibility over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small.” So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their care. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food”—and it was done. God looked at everything he had made, and saw that indeed…it was very good. Evening passed and morning came—that was the sixth day. This is the word of our Lord…thanks be to God
We pause to celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis each October not just to offer a blessing for those special animals and pets who are such an important part of our life and families, but also to look into the scriptures and to remind ourselves, that each one of these special pets is fully a part of God’s good and wonderful Creation…placed there by our Lord for our joy and comfort…there to brighten our days and to share in our deepest emotions.
But we also hear in the story of Creation that God’s original intention within Creation was for us as humans to care for and to watch over all of the rest of Creation…not to subdue or to control it simply for our own ends but rather to take care of it in such a way that we might preserve the original balance and harmony that was there at the beginning.
As you heard in the reading of the account of Creation, each day God looked at what was coming to be and ‘saw that it was good’. In fact we hear it repeated so many times it is easy to wonder why the writer felt it was necessary to repeat it so. But in fact, there is a reason contained within the words themselves which is almost lost in the translation over into English.
All together in the first chapter of Genesis there are seven references telling us that God looked at Creation and ‘saw that it was good’. The first six of these, spread throughout the scripture indicate simply that God was pleased with what he saw. The last reference however, after God had completed the Creation on the sixth day is noticeably different in the original Hebrew. In English we get a sense of this in that the wording changes slightly from ‘And God saw that it was good’ to, ‘and God saw that indeed it was very good’. In the Hebrew, this slight change means that God was pleased not only because that day’s work was good and pleasing as well, but that in seeing it all together, in looking at it as a completed and whole creation, with all parts functioning in their appropriate role, God saw the harmony and balance intended to be there in the first place.
Plants, the seasons, all of life’s creatures, and humanity itself were all together in sacred balance…so therefore it was, ‘very good’.
And I tell you this because it is worthy to note that we are called to care for and steward all of Creation in such a way as to continually seek a return to this original harmony and balance between ourselves and the rest of Creation. We are called to watch over, and to enable the rest of Creation to be all it was originally intended to be, filled with all the joy, beauty, and grace it was given at the start.
So, on this day when we celebrate the memory of Saint Francis whose life epitomized the love of creation and of all living things; let us remember that all of us…all wildlife, all the life of the air and of the seas, our pets, and we ourselves have been placed here together with a purpose…to preserve the beauty and grace that is right in front of us, and to live joyfully in remembrance of all the blessings God has so freely bestowed upon our lives, not the least of which are the wondrous, life-giving creatures we are blessed to call our pets…amen