Hiking Thorough Scripture Part 3:
Connected to Creation – Symbiosis, Sabbath and sufficiency
This section of the Green Bible Trail guide show us passages in scripture that connect humanity to God and the entirety of Creation, showing us our part in the chorus of Creation that together sings praises to God.
Scripture passages for this journey are:
Genesis 2:4 -25
Exodus 23: 10-13
Revelation 11: 15-19
The account of Creation found in Genesis 2: 4-25 connects humanity to creation not only in how we were created, “from the dust of the ground” (7), but by the purpose God intends humans to serve, “to till and keep” (15) God’s beautiful garden. In fact, this purpose is alluded to in verse 5 “when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth and there was no one to till the ground.” This account of creation shows that God’s Creation was intended to flourish together in a symbiotic relationship where the responsibility of humans was to see to it that Creation thrived, while the gifts of God’s Creation would allow humans to thrive. When our actions destroy God’s Creation, we jeopardize the balance of this symbiotic relationship harming not only God’s Creation, but our human brothers and sisters, and ultimately ourselves who depend on the gifts of Creation to survive. We are rejecting God’s calling and endangering what God loves. Perhaps this is why we are told in Revelation 11:18 that those who destroy the earth will be destroyed.
The passage in Exodus teaches us about the Sabbath. “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your donkey may have relief, and your homeborn slave and the resident alien may be refreshed” (Exodus 23:12). This verse makes clear not only our connection to the rest of God’s Creation but what our response to that connection should be; namely compassion and consideration. In this passage, we are told to rest not for ourselves, for our own relief and refreshment, but so that others (human and non-human) may have relief and refreshment. The commandment to honor the Sabbath applies to us today for the same reasons. Many of our activities are energy intensive and take a serious toll on all of God’s Creation. Imagine if every person of faith honored the Sabbath by intentionally trying to conserve energy just one day a week; turning off our televisions, computers and other electronic distractions, and focusing on God instead. We would go a long way in reducing our contribution to global warming pollution. In the same way, by refusing to shop till we drop on the Sabbath, we can allow many of our neighbors to experience the Sabbath more fully as well.
The passage in Exodus also teaches about the sabbatical year. “For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat.” This commandment is a warning against overconsumption and a reminder that we are all connected. In a world of finite resources consuming more than our fair share means that our neighbors, human and nonhuman alike, will go without. Part of honoring the Sabbath is living the principle of sufficiency, allowing all forms of life a fair share in the gifts of God.
May God, teach us to recognize the symbiotic relationship we were designed to be a part of, teach us to honor the Sabbath and practice the value of sufficiency out of a deep love for God, our neighbor and the entire Creation, so that we may join the pastures, hills, meadows, and valleys as they shout and sing together for joy (psalm 65:12-13).
Click here to sign the faith principles on global warming: Justice, Stewardship, Sustainability and Sufficiency