Sermon: October 21, 2012

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Sermon Details
Sermon Title: 
The Good Creation
Sermon Date: 
October 21, 2012
Guest Preacher: 
Antrim Caskey
Sermon Text: 
Genesis 1:1-10
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There is a truth in the hearts of many who work for the good. They are pushed, pulled and prodded by a hope for something better; not a flimsy or wishful hope, but hope grounded in God's goodness, faithfulness, and abiding love.
Hope anchored in God's faithful promises leads to action often producing suffering. But the suffering seems small in comparison to the goal - to reach the certain victory, to gain the glory of a reconciled and redeemed creation. Not personal glory, mind you, but the glory of a restored creation at peace with itself and its Creator.
In movement after movement we witness this dynamic in action. Civil rights, anti-war, gay rights, children's rights, and in the effort to protect the right to vote we see this same dynamic at work.
In some cases it is not easy to understand why people are willing to risk so much for what might seem to be an unattainable goal. For instance: Why risk life and limb, why give years of your life to protect and help a few hill people and their mountaintops? Why fight against enormous odds for a few small mountaintops and a few unimportant people?
For many, and certainly for us, it is a Biblical dynamic that pulls, prods and pushes. We see a good creation hurt and spoiled and we cannot turn away. Why? Because we hear creation groaning, yearning to be set free. We know through our faith that creation longs to be reconciled to God. Here, in our Scripture, is the promise, hope, and foundation to support the good struggle.
Genesis: The Creator creates creation. There is no other Creator. God alone creates and all that God creates is good, indeed it is very good. In this good creation there is value, there is ethical and esthetic value. The beauty of creation is God's gift and we are to cherish the gift. The goodness of creation is God's gift and we are to sustain and love the gift. We are to treat God's goodness with goodness and respond to God's love with love. The gift of creation from a loving Creator God is the foundation of all our hope.
Romans: But we know the gift has been horribly mistreated. Creature kills creature and the more we learn it seems the better we learn to kill. Creatures savage the creation and the more we desire the more we feel free to spoil and mar the beauty and goodness God created. There is a consequence that arises out of our disregard and disrespect for God's gift: We injure much more than a simply hillbilly in her backwater hollow. We know that all creation groans, all creation yearns to be set free from our abuse and to return to its promised state of goodness. All creation is waiting - right now - to be brought back to the loving Creator.
Colossians: There is hope found in the eternal and faithful love of the Creator. We know this hope most clearly in the life, death and resurrection of the Creator's Son. The hope of Jesus Christ is this: The one overarching purpose of his life, suffering and resurrection is to reconcile all of creation to God; to redeem all of creation, to bring all creation back to the state of goodness. God's purpose in Christ is to reconcile all creation to the goodness promised and present in the beginning. This earth, this creation is precious to God. And God's great passion is to bring every person, every stream, every mountaintop, and every creature to God. God's goal - our vision - is to end Creation's groaning. The vision is not off on a cloud somewhere; it is not in some other-worldly place. Creation loved and redeemed is to be realized here, on earth. Here is the vision:

God’s dwelling place is now among the people. They will be God's people, and God will be with them and be their God. God will wipe every tear from their eyes.There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. To the thirsty God will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
The river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, shall flow from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stands the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. The gates are never shut, for there is no fear in the presence of God. No longer will there be any curse on the land, the creatures or the people. (Paraphrase of Rev. 20 and 21)

The promise is clear: A world of crystal pure water, life giving trees and bright skies; a world where the gates are always open and where the nations find healing. A world in which all people prosper in God's good creation. It is this world, a world redeemed, that Antrim and so many others work to bring closer. May we thank them with our prayers and deepest gratitude and our own action for the good.