Lenten Reflections Week 6: Humans and the Earth

Scripture: Genesis 1:24-31

Reflection: The word “created” is used sparingly in scripture with it most often referring to God’s work in creating the world. However, the first chapter of Genesis uses it five times. The chapter opens with a statement that God “created the heavens and the earth.” The birds and the fish get that special designation as “God created” as well. And finally, when the text talks about the creation of humankind it uses the word “created” three times. 

It is always important to look out for repetition in scripture. It means something. It always asks us to take a deeper look at what is being said. There is deep repetition in the verses that describe God’s creation of humanity. These verses remind us that God made us, that we are made in God’s image and that God chose to create humans in different sexes (plural) that reflect that image. But the repetition also does something more, it reminds us that we are in fact created beings. 

That “created-ness” should give us pause when we think of God’s mandate for us “to rule” over the other parts of God’s created world. It reminds us that like the earth and the sky, like the fish and the birds, we were created by God for a purpose. Our rulership is a positional one, not one of materiality. We are made of the same building blocks and atoms as the world around us and our origins all begin with the same Originator. But we are special because we are called to reflect our creator’s heart for the world, to care for and rejoice in everything that God declares “good.”

Suggested action: Buy fair-trade chocolate and coffee, and purchase sustainably-raised meat. Plan a garden that will provide habitat for birds and insects around your home: pollinator flowers or shrubs for shelter. If you are able, make a donation to an organization that works for justice for God’s creation such as A Rocha (https://www.arocha.org/en/) or choose one of the actions from the Climate Caretakers website (https://climatecaretakers.org/take-action).

Image: Katsushika Hokusai, “Peasants and Travelers in Autumn Landscape

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