Readings: Lectionary Year B, 2nd Sunday before Lent
Proverbs 8.1,22-31 All creation reflects God’s wisdom by which it was made
Colossians 1.15-20 Christ is the source and destination of all things
John 1.1-14 John celebrates Jesus as God’s Word and creative power
Stained glass in Little St. Mary’s church, Cambridge. Caroline Benyon (2000)
The design depicts in a semi-abstract way, the work of God the Holy Spirit in creation. The left hand panel references Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5000 with loaves and fishes, demonstrating his creative power in the natural world.
Does this image help you reflect on the curves of the natural world and the harder lines of human activity within it.
Some thoughts on the readings
– The passages all speak of Christ’s role in creation, variously addressing Christ as Word, Wisdom, and Firstborn Son.
– Elsewhere in Proverbs, God’s Wisdom is personified as female, challenging any too-simple notions of “God the Son” and prompting a re-evaluation of male-centric language about God.
– Paul asserts that not just all people, but all things, will be reconciled to God through Christ. The rest of creation is not just ‘scenery’ for human existence but rather it is of great importance to God, and beneficiary of Jesus’ sacrifice.
– The prologue of John’s Gospel, much more familiar from Christmas, here reminds us not so much of who Jesus is, but of his role in creation and in bringing about the new creation, of which we can be part through him.
Suggestions for further Bible reading
Psalm 8 The psalmist expresses awe at the universe, and realises that humans are insignificant in comparison but at the same time significant to the Lord.
Job 38:4-41 God cuts off Job’s complaints and Job’s friends’ wrangling to point out that human concerns are very limited, but that all the universe, beyond the reach even of human imagination, is God’s responsibility.
Luke 12:22-31 Jesus points out that our primary aim is to please God. One way we seek God’s kingdom is by caring for God’s creation, as God does.
Do any other Bible passages come to mind when you read today’s readings?
Points for Prayer
– Give thanks that God is not an ‘absentee landlord’ who has abandoned creation to its own devices, but rather is intimately involved with all things.
– Pray for the Nature Friendly Farming Network, and for the important role which Martin Lines of Eltisley plays in it. Ask God to give them wisdom and success as they attempt to influence policy and practice in UK farming.
– Pray for those who don’t know God, that they will experience God in creation, and that the church will be the place they turn to to learn more.
Points for Action
– There are many charities seeking to take better care of the natural world from local ones such as the Woodland Trust, to international ones such as the World Wildlife Fund. Consider donating regularly to one, or volunteering.
– Churchyards are often important wildlife habitats. Why not join in next time there’s a working party to maintain your parish’s churchyard?