Tuesday, November 06, 2007
It's gonna be "Fauna Sunday" this week, as we continue our celebration of the Season of Creation, which means we get to celebrate God's creatures here on earth. (And, I admit and warn you now, some of God's "flora" are likely to crop up, too, as I can't really imagine the "fauna" without them...)
I've been pondering the creatures of the world. When I think of animals and God, my mind nearly always jumps to Isaiah's vision of a "peaceable kingdom" (as in the one painted by Edward Hicks, above). I like creatures in an idealized, perfect world, where lambs and lions can abide in harmony.
I have more trouble with creatures in my everyday life: I'm not a pet person. (I do try to feed the fish at our house regularly, but that's about as good as it gets for me. I like that they stay in their tank and don't infringe on my space...) I think I like my plants more.
I am, however, amazed at the beauty and variety of creatures in this world--the intricate ways they fit together in ecosystems and the diverse adaptations that work for their survival and the survival of others.
All of which I think Jesus was talking about when he preached to the crowds and told them not to worry. It's too easy for all of us to get caught up in worry about what will come next. Or, even, fretting about figuring out how and why things happen. (Particularly, I think, we get seduced by this dangerous way of thinking about God when disaster strikes. We try to console ourselves with the assurance that "everything happens for a reason," as if God intended for tragedies and suffering to happen. As a means to something else. I can't buy that way of thinking.)
I DO, however, affirm that God is present in everything. And that God works with every bit of reality, inviting us to a new possibility. We can use both the tragedies and the triumphs of the world as occasions for doing things that build God's kingdom.
Strive first for the kingdom of God, Jesus says. The rest will work out.
And the crazy part is that when we strive first for the kingdom of God, we find it working out beautifully--not just as a promise for the future, but even in the "now." Loving God and loving neighbor infuses our living with things that are eternal.
Striving first for the Kingdom also means that we use our lives to be stewards of things far beyond ourselves--in an era when we can have dramatic impact on creatures far and near, we are invited to live in ways that ensure the survival and flourishing of other life, too.
So, like last week, we gather again on Sunday to give thanks for God's presence in all creation. (The Psalm will help, again.) And, we challenge ourselves to be changed by that presence.
(Maybe I'll become an animal person, yet.)
Posted by Molly Vetter at 3:55 PM