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For God So Loved The World

Karen McElfish

In the beginning, inky darkness shifting and swirling, taking no form, spilling between fingers as God’s hands mold and shape, now smooth and round. With a swish there was flowing water, churning and crashing, covering the form and great clouds billowed above. Out of the deep waters God pulls the land, flat here and peaked there. Now cover this, God said, and scatters tender greens, gently unfurling and stretching, touched by brilliant reds and yellows, purples and blues, fruitful and fragrant. With a fling of God’s arm, a cascade of stars showers across the sky, and a warm golden sun rises as a pale moon sets.

Spilling forth from God’s hands, silver scales upon the fish, bright plumage upon the birds, living creatures fill the waters and the air. On the land, God places vast herds of animals, a tiny mouse scurries, a cricket leaps, a shaggy buffalo stomps its feet, a giraffe stretches its neck, all creatures great and small. It is good.

Then in God’s image, able to create and to love, God forms humans and places us in this glorious creation, to till and to keep. God sees everything God has created, and it is very good. God rests and enjoys strolling through the garden, delighting in the song of a bird or the scent of a flower. It is good!

My husband and I enjoy walking every morning, treasuring time to listen for the call of the towhees along the bike path, or the redwing blackbirds near the pond in the park. Watch the irises open. In this time of sheltering, when many of our activities are on hold, this time of enjoying the beauty of God’s creation is one we cherish. It makes us mindful of our responsibility to protect this world, use its resources wisely. We are but stewards of the world.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16

The Greek word for “world” used in this passage is “cosmos”. God loved not just the people, but all of God’s creation. God sent Jesus to live among us, Jesus who had been there at the forming of the world, Jesus who renews and reconciles, that we might again live in right relationship with God and with all of God’s creation.

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:19-20

Today let us remember that God calls us to be stewards of God’s wonderful creation.

Let us pray: “May God’s grace purify our reason, strengthen our will, and guide our action. May the love of God, the peace of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit be among you, everywhere and always, so that you may be a blessing to all creation and to all the children of God, making peace, nurturing and practicing hope, choosing life, and coming to life eternal. Amen.”

(From the Council of Bishops’ “God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action”)

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