The psalmist and the writer of the Creation account in Gene- sis put humankind at the pinnacle of Creation, and biblical translations use words like dominion, rule, and subdue to describe the role of humankind in caring for the earth. Is there any way to understand those words apart from a hierarchical relationship between humans and the rest of the created order?
If you drive almost anywhere in the southern United States, you soon will see how our efforts to subdue creation often back re. Kudzu covers thousands of acres of southern elds and forests, and its rapid growth and deep roots make it dif cult to eradicate. Even with the time and expense of efforts to remove it, the spread of kudzu is a relatively benign misstep when compared to the extinction of animals and plants and the pol- lution of our air and water. How can the damage we have done in exercising dominion over the earth be part of the plan of the One who loved the world into being?
Notice that the af rmation of God’s sovereignty frames human dominion. Perhaps that is where dominion resides: within the sovereignty of God. The psalmist tells us that it is impossible to look at the work of God’s ngers and not be moved by the majesty of what God has made and entrusted to us. Perhaps our communities of faith lack the awe and delight necessary for us to long to protect our earth as if it were our child. If we honor the earth as God cherishes it, our decisions about how we live and what we value will change. Our com- munities of faith will weigh in on the dif cult questions about how to balance the needs of humans while caring for the earth because these are not simply political issues; they are spiritual questions that lie at the heart of what it means to be the people of God.
How can my faith community experience the awe of creation and hear anew God’s call to care for the earth?
Trinity Sunday is an appropriate time for the church to reflect on the dynamic tension between what we know of God and our attempts to formulate and articulate what we know. The Genesis text demonstrates that the God of Israel, the creator of heaven and earth, is unlike other gods and must be served and worshiped exclusively. The psalm asserts the same power of God but is more explicit about the implications for human life of God’s governance. The Gospel reading re ects on the gift of God’s presence in the church, a presence marked by moral expectation and demand, as well as assurance. The epistle reading voices the strange convergence of God’s authority and God’s remarkable grace known through the presence of Christ.
• Read Genesis 1:1–2:4a. God takes a break. When do you allow yourself to step away from the busyness of the world for some much-needed sabbath time?
• Read Psalm 8. This song of praise exalts the order and majesty of creation. We, like the psalmist, ask, “God, why do you care for humankind?” How do you respond?
• Read 2 Corinthians 13:11-13. What ways can you envision yourself acting to calm disagreements and tension within your church community?
• Read Matthew 28:16-20. Jesus gives his disciples clear instructions: Go, make disciples, baptize, teach. How is your discipleship evident in your “going”?
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