First Sunday after Pentecost
In this time of the pandemic, protest, riot, and divisive politics, I choose nature’s beauty. On Facebook, I post pictures of our home gardens, pictures of dogwood, iris, tulips, daffodils, dianthus, and roses. Our church gardens contain iris, tulips, hosta, azalea, salvia, geraniums, pansies, and rhododendron. We choose nature’s beauty to connect to our God, the Creator. Genesis puts before us our God who creates goodness, who establishes goodness on earth. And then God shares that goodness of creation with us, with you and with me. And God invites us to be partners, to share responsibility for creation. In accepting this partnership, we become co-creators with God. What a privilege! What a sacred trust!
As we cooperate with God, we look to the “gold standard” of cooperation. Theologians call this Holy Partnership, the Holy Trinity – God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. From this Holy Partnership, from the Holy Trinity, comes peace, comes wholeness, which enables justice to prevail, indeed, to flourish.
That peace, that wholeness, is placed in our very hands in the Holy Eucharist as the priest declares, “the gifts of God for the People of God”. That peace, that wholeness, is placed in our very hearts, “the gifts of God for the People of God”. Living into that peace, into that wholeness, creates a safe place for all, where we all can “live, and move, and have our being” as the prayer states. A safe place for all gives everyone the opportunity to experience and explore God’s creation.
As a young boy, my exploration included summer camp and city parks. My exploration included backyard raspberries and grapes, rhubarb and tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. My exploration also included mosquitos and worms, lightning bugs, and snakes. To live into “the gifts of God for the People of God” is first to explore creation.
The second step is to develop the skills to cooperate with God’s creation. To cultivate the soil, to plant the seeds, to water the plants, to weed the garden. Some of these are more enjoyable than others as we partner with the Creator.
The third step is picking the raspberries, the cucumbers, the tomatoes, the grapes, and pulling the onions and radishes. They were shared at family meals, with neighbors and friends. It was sharing “the gifts of God with the People of God”. Sometimes we picked on Sunday morning to take to the coffee hour.
In peace, in wholeness, we all can explore God’s creation; in peace, in wholeness, we all can cultivate and cooperate with God; in peace, in wholeness, we all can share the gifts of creation. It is justice that gives all the opportunity to explore; it is justice that gives all the opportunity to develop their God-given talents; it is justice that gives all the opportunity to contribute to the common good, to the commonwealth. The Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the “gold standard” for working together in God’s world. We in these United States of America have a way to go in developing an environment of peace, an environment of wholeness where justice for all prevails. Maybe continue to stretch ourselves until the day when the words of the prophet Micah are on everyone’s heart and are in everyone’s actions. He wrote –
O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord God require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)