Readings: Genesis 2:4b–22; Psalm 139.13-16; John 3.1-16
Here is the homily given by the Rev. Clarence Li on the First Sunday of Creation on September 3, 2017:
Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ ~ John 3.3
The first creation story: God creates the world in seven days and on the seventh day crowned the whole project with the creation of human beings who were to ‘go and multiply and have dominion over all the earth.’ Looking back into the history of civilization today, we are beginning to realize the damage to our land, river, ocean, and atmosphere caused by a distorted understanding of this story. We, for the most part, have read the story from an anthropocentric way. “See, it’s all about us, we, the human species being the crown of the whole creation, and we can exploit all other species for our benefits.
Thankfully, we were not left with one, but two creation stories. In the second creation story we heard earlier, the world was a garden with rivers, trees, plants, animals, birds, and human. We humans are just a part of the whole. It’s a more humbling story where the first man was rather needy and would not be happy until God created a helper from his own flesh. And in the second creation story human beings are simply workers to till the earth, not masters to have dominion over it. It’s a much less anthropocentric story with the human being simply being a part of a deeply connected whole. When Jesus told Nicodemus that one has to be born from above in order to enter the kingdom of God, I wonder if Jesus meant we need to look at the world and live our life from a less anthropocentric way, simply based on what the human species wants and needs, but from a perspective from above, a perspective that is rooted that fact that all lives are born of the Spirit and the Earth.
I am inviting Suzanne Simard, a Canadian Forest Ecologist to lead us reflecting on what others in our forest may teach us. Suzanne studies the complex, symbiotic networks in our forests. Her learning may provide great wisdom to all of us who are born from above of the Spirit and the Earth.
The TED Talk in the video below was recorded in Banff 2016 and is entitled: "How trees talk to each other."
By clicking on the link below you will access a slightly different, but more personal, version given later in Seattle.