1st Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 2:4-13 & Psalm 81
Next Sunday we enter the Season of Creation. “The reading from the prophet Jeremiah this morning is an amazing segue into this new season of the church liturgical year, where we concern ourselves with our relationships with all of God’s handiwork.
“I brought you into a plentiful land” God says, “but when you entered, you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination.”
I can think of a few instances in my own past where I have been revolted almost to the point of being sick by the sight of what we humans have done to the land. My partner and I went one morning to walk in a heritage park in Mission – a place we had explored and enjoyed many times before – only to find that without warning a part of the land had been cleared, the trees uprooted and the soil turned to mud. We walked unprepared, right into it and were so horrified by the destruction and the smell of fresh cut trees that we had to leave, shaken and appalled. The familiar landscape was gone, we couldn’t find the trails, all had been replaced with chaos and bleeding trees.
My first seeing of the tar sands in Alberta, on television no doubt, similarly left me shaking and angry at what desecration we do. My first trip through our quarries here on Texada was equally sickening.
We are not unlike those Israelites Jeremiah was talking to. We too have lost contact with God – with the Creator and the Giver of all this plentiful land. We too have made vessels for ourselves that do not hold water – invented practices of resource exploitation that are desecrating the land we live in and are not sustainable.
And like those ancient people, we too have choice. We can continue to be part of the problem, people of God, or we can choose to become part of the solution. We can continue down the path of death and destruction, or we can make different choices – choices that honour the God of Creation, and are life-affirming instead.
Don’t be afraid. God is with us in this place, as God has always been with us. We are not alone. I invite you to choose God, align yourself with the Divine, remember that we stand on hallowed ground, and choose Life every time. This is the challenge of our lifetime, beloved of God. Are we up to it?
Hymn #806 VU “O God our help in ages past”
2nd Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 & Luke 14:1, 7-14
Do you ever wonder, where does all this rape and pillage, this brutal exploitation of the natural resources that are our inheritance, where does this all come from? Who has the right to do this to what is our common legacy?
Have you heard the expression: “To the victor go the spoils.” In other words the strongest warrior wins and gets to take whatever he wants. In old Britain, 3 or 4 hundred years AD, that meant the victorious soldiers killed all the men and boys, raped or enslaved all the women and girls, burned down their villages and took control of the land. Ugly as this scenario is, it is in our DNA. It is what we do. Not so graphically perhaps now as then, and many battles are now fought in the boardrooms of the nations rather than on the battlefields. But the winner still gets the resources, and the simple peasants still lose almost everything – except jobs, that is. Yes, the ordinary citizens hang on desperately to the idea of jobs, because that is all that is left for them. Most these days cannot even afford to buy a house – or if they do, the bank owns it for the rest of their working lives. Any idea of shared ownership and responsibility for the stewardship of the land has long been stripped away.
We need to find our way back to the garden. We need to stop applauding the ambitions and acquisitiveness of our smartest minds and start turning their brains and their consciousness to the collective good of humanity and of the planet that sustains us as a species.
There is plenty of work to do to clean up the messes we have made, to put out the fires set only to profit those who would be winners – those whose arrogance knows no limits.
Humbling ourselves to be in service to our fellow humans, and to the earth – that is a hard sell in our capitalist society – where for sure the winners take all. We are not sharing. 99% of the wealth of this world is held by a very small percentage of people. The rest of us are living in relative poverty in a world that should be plentiful, where the harvest should be abundant, and where all this is threatened if we don’t change our ways.
The Living God is speaking to us thru our children! Let us do what we can to support them, to take their messages seriously, and to willingly take a back seat to this new-to-us but really very old thinking. This earth is our life and our livelihood – our inheritance from God. We need to learn to take better care of it. Our young people are hearing God’s clarion call. We must be willing to take them seriously.
Hymn #87 MV “Water Flowing from the Mountains”