Pastor’s Column – May 2024

Pastor’s Column – May 2024

“Sunshine Cloud Tree” by zhen’s photo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

God created human beings; God created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of the Earth.”

Genesis 1:27-28

I was fortunate to have grown up only a few miles from Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I remember riding bikes on the towpath all summer and into the Fall. We would ride to the beaver dam or to a local produce stand called Szalay’s, which always had the freshest fruit and the most delicious sweet corn. However, one of my favorite sites was Brandywine Falls. You can still find it on all of their brochures. Brandywine Falls attracted all sorts of people. You had your nature enthusiasts and young families trying to burn off their kids’ energy. There were bikers who rode Schwinn and bikers who rode Harleys. People from all walks of life would marvel together at the size of the falls.

On the day of the eclipse, we had Church Council, and I asked this question, “What was it like watching the eclipse? What did you notice about those near you who were watching?” Like Brandywine Falls, those on Council experienced people marveling together at the eclipse. This natural event, which is part of creation’s ebb and flow, gripped everyone’s attention in a way no T.V. show or app on one’s phone could. Then came this comment, which has stuck with me ever since, “It didn’t matter if you were Republican or Democrat.”

The eclipse was a humbling experience. It reminded many of us how vast creation is and how small we are. At that moment, with hundreds of thousands of people gathering to experience a rare shadow, we could let our differences go. The eclipse had to end, but perhaps the good news is that in those 2-4 minutes, we had a taste of being one—one community—one people together. Those moments feel as rare as an eclipse these days, but perhaps that’s not the case. As Spring gets underway, we will find similar communal events at farmer’s markets, concerts on the green, fairs and festivals, pride events, and any place people get together safely and can be human together. We are told in scripture that this is God’s dream.

In April, we had Creation Care Sunday. We thought about our neighbor, not just the person who lives next door, but the trees, the birds, and the creeping things. In our oneness, we remembered our covenant set at creation, which is our responsibility to tend to what God creates. Whenever we care for our planet, we care for all those around us regardless of who they are or what they have done, regardless of whether they are Republicans or Democrats. I invite you to consider one of the following practices to live out our creation covenant. When we do that, I believe God smile and marvels at us for we are living God’s dream as Jesus did before us, and as Christ continues to.

  • Plant a tree
  • Ride your bike
  • Let your voice be heard
  • Make a water conservation plan
  • Use reusable bags
  • Use a refillable water bottle
  • Get produce from a local farmer’s market
  • Shop smart for environmentally friendly clothes
  • Start a backyard wildlife habitat
  • Grab a guide to local plants and wildlife and get outside