|Image by Casey Yee|
Connecting with Creation
O my strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
You may wish to try playing today's music and the video at bottom at the same time.
May my teaching drop like the rain,
my speech condense like the dew;
like gentle rain on grass, like showers on new growth.
Gracious God, your amazing love extends through all time and space, to all parts of your creation, which you created and called good. You made a covenant with Noah and his family, putting a rainbow in the sky to symbolize your promise of love and blessing to every living creature, and to all successive generations... As people of faith, we are called into covenant. Your covenant of faithfulness and love extends to the whole creation. We pray for the healing of the earth, that present and future generations may enjoy the fruits of creation,
and continue to glorify and praise you.
- from “Caring for Creation: Making the World Safe for Children,”
a resource of the National Council of Churches, found on earthministry.org
Verses for the Day
As for me, I was like a canal from a river,
like a water channel into a garden. I said, ‘I will water my
garden and drench my flower-beds.’ And lo, my canal
became a river, and my river a sea.
|Image by Casey Yee|
Today’s reading is one of several times in Scripture that God expresses a desire to be in covenantal relationship with God’s people. This covenant is made with Noah, after the devastation of the flood that led to Noah’s evacuation, migration and endless journey by sea. Although we often see it characterized in children’s books and toys with a sense of playful innocence, the story of the flood is a very challenging one, in which we hear how the world appears to vanish and then is restored. One pair of each species, including humankind, is preserved by God so that life can go on. In this story, even God has a moment of regret, followed by a commitment to renewal, and more importantly to upholding humankind always. A covenant is a commitment between agreeing partners, to faithfully uphold each other not just in specific legal terms, but with the whole heart. A covenant is a pledge that lives in and with God. Water often participates in a sign of covenant, as in the waters of baptism. From the living waters of the Gihon Spring to the rivers of Revelation, water in Scripture is a marker of life and healing. Therefore we are familiar with a biblical story in which water holds portents of death and destruction and also of transformational healing. On Saturdays and Sundays this Lent, we are taking time to reflect on the journey of the week, looking back and previewing what is ahead. It is also a time of reflecting on how the Lenten projects of other years have reflected on the same issues that concern us today. On the first Saturday of the first devotional project in 2011, the short reflection responded to the earthquake and tsunami that had devastated Japan the day before. (See that page here.) People around the world watched in horror as videos emerged online of entire communities being swept away. In 2015, we revisited that page and also visited the Yakushima wilderness, an UNESCO Man and the Biosphere reserve on the island that lies at the southwesternmost tip of the Japan in the East China Sea. (See that page here.) In 2011, the reserve largely escaped the impact of the tsunami but in 2015 the island was experiencing sulfur pollution arriving downwind from manufacturing plants in mainland China. Today, the white pines are still affected by pollution, but the reserve itself remains a well-preserved oasis that speaks to the raw beauty of God’s Creation. It has endured more than twenty-five hundred years of human and ecological history and is one of the few places in the world where there is no sign of tree cutting. Noah lives to see a green leaf in the beak of a bird. We too can find new life. As we journey with climate change, we can choose to continually recommit ourselves in faithful covenant to each other and to our neighbour Creation. When we join with others to think about practices for coping with climate change, we are making our own bow in the sky. What is your covenant with God in regard to the climate? Can you form one in prayer today?
A HIKE IN YAKUSHIMA ISLAND BIORESERVE
LC† Reimagining Justice is a project of
Lutherans Connect / Lutheran Campus Ministry Toronto,
supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
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