Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
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Please read Romans 8:18--24 in your Bible.
Every Sunday morning I stop at Panera's, a bakery/deli chain, to buy one sourdough soup bowl. It is a small, round bread that the store uses to serve soup in after cutting out the top. We use it for Eucharist on Sunday mornings. It is just the right size for our group. It's quite tasty too. One of the curious coincidences of the bread is that before it is baked it is scored on the top. This leaves a cross-shaped mark on top of the loaf.
As I looked at the loaf this past Sunday I was reminded of a lecture I recently heard on Earth-keeping faith. Dr. Larry Rasmussen from Union Theological Seminary shared with us Martin Luther's response to a question that Katie, his wife, posed to him. "Where is God?" she asked. Luther responded, "Why God's in that wagon wheel, in the fertilizer, in your soup!" Luther could see God's divine action in the entire world through the things of the world.
Every bit of creation is holy. That is all of creation has been given a holy purpose. Having an Earth-keeping faith acknowledges this holiness. That loaf of bread we use for communion is holy even before the promise of God's Word to be Christ's body given in, with, through, and under the morsels we eat in the sacrament. That cross-shaped mark on top of the bread proclaims to me and to you that the wheat, water, yeast, and sugar were holy as the bread was being made.
The work of Christ then is just not for your own freedom from death and self-centeredness. No, it is not for you or our species alone, but for all of creation. "Yes, yes," you say, "I know. 'Give a hoot. Don't pollute.' 'Reduce, reuse, recycle.' I know the slogans. I'll do what I can." Yes, and I'm sure we all do what we can. But "doing what we can" is holy work! Recycling that bottle is God's work. Reusing those freezer containers makes us participants in God's kingdom. Turning off the water as you brush your teeth is redemptive. All the things we do for the good of the earth are in God's will.
God's work in Christ goes beyond even that. The cross-shaped mark on the top of that bread proclaims to me and you that God in Christ will free all of creation from decay. All creation will participate when Christ comes again, and all creation will be made new. As our Bible reading says, "the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains" waiting for the day.
Pray that God opens your ears and eyes to the holiness of all creation. Pray that God opens your ears and eyes to the groaning of creation as you seek to do God's will in having an Earth-keeping faith.