Posted by: mcgurker | April 30, 2009

Taking a Hike Through Scripture

For the next few weeks I thought I’d take you with me on a Journey through the Green Bible Trail Guide.  (Click here to learn more about the Green Bible.)  The trail guide will lead us through selections of Bible passages touching on six green themes that come up again and again throughout the Bible.   The first theme is the inherent goodness of Creation.

Scripture passages for this journey are:

Genesis 1: 1-31 and 2: 1-4
Genesis 9:8-17
Job 38 – 39
Psalm 24: 1-2
Psalm 104

Read along with me and share your thoughts and reflections.

The passage in Job really stuck out to me.

God answers Job out of the whirlwind “Who is it that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38: 1-2) What does God say to us?  Our treatment of Creation reflects a lack of knowledge and understanding.  We guzzle non-renewable resources, like there is an infinite supply.  We pollute what is reusable, water and air for example, until it is no longer healthy for us or other creatures. We consume much more than our fair share of the lands bounty, never stopping to consider how our food gets to us, how far it has traveled, who it impacted while in transit, or who is now going without.

How has our lack of understanding impacted Creation? The planet is warming, Ocean fisheries are being depleted beyond their capacity to regenerate, soils and aquifers are contaminated with toxics, old growth forests and coral reefs are threatened… the list could go on and on.  We like Job’s friends could use a lesson in humility.  After all, who are we to use God’s “good” Creation in this way?  We did not lay the corner stone, and we were not there when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy (Job 38: 6-7)

How has our lack of understanding impacted our relationship with others?  Mountain top removal mining threatens entire communities in Appalachia. The impacts of climate change will push those living in poverty around the world further into despair, conflict will arise as resources like water, fuel and arable land become more and more scarce, and human health will suffer as warmer temperatures lead to the spread of disease.

How has our lack of understanding impacted our relationship to God?  We say we understand the problems facing God’s Creation and our neighbors, but are hesitant to change our lifestyles to reflect our claimed values of stewardship, sustainability and justice.  We harden our hearts and close our ears, refusing to listen as God speaks to us through Creation.

The passage in Job tells us that God as Creator and Provider has an intimate relationship with the entire Creation, and that God is continually interacting with Creation.  “Who has let the wild ass go free?  Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass, to which I have given the steppe for its home, the salt land for its dwelling place?” (Job 39: 5-6). We are part of God’s good creation, and we too can have an intimate relationship with our Creator, but by separating ourselves from God’s Creation, we have lost touch with this reality.  Reflecting on God’s presence within God’s good Creation is one way that we can strengthen our relationship with God.  “But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you… in God’s hand is the life of every living thing” (Job 12 7-8 and 10). After reflecting on the works of God in Creation, may we like the psalmist proclaim “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to God while I have my being” (Psalm 104:33) May we sing this praise not only with our lips, but with our lives as well.

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