Thoughts from the Pastor

Creation Speaks

In July I had the opportunity to serve as Dean at Brethren Woods as I have done almost every summer for the past 10+ years. The experience is always rewarding, exhausting, and fills me with hope. It was all those things again this summer, but it also felt different somehow. After sixteen some months of a pandemic (that continues), I witnessed among the campers, counselors, and staff a desperate yearning for and need for community. People needed camp this summer in a new way.

The theme for camp this year is Creation Speaks which invites us to read the story of creation in Genesis in a new way. It takes each day of creation and explores how themes of light, water, earth, animals, etc. are used throughout scripture. Most importantly the theme invited us to consider how creation is calling to us, showing us the glory of God, but also inviting us to live in a way that glorifies God, and all God has created and continues to create.

Of all the scriptures used the passage that resonated the deepest with me is a passage we often gloss over. It’s the story of Noah and the flood but not the part of the story we are most familiar with. We know that Noah built the Ark and gathered the animals, but we often end our story viewing Noah and God as the savior of the animals. However, in Genesis 8: 6-12 we are reminded that following the flood, Noah relied on a Raven and a Dove to know when the water had subsided. Yes, Noah built the Ark to save the animals, but Noah also relied on the animals for his own salvation.

For me this is a deep reminder of how interconnected we are with creation and one another. I felt this truth of creation speak to me as I watched the hazy sunrise, a result of wildfires out West. I felt this truth of creation speak to me as I listened to thunder roll down the valley, I felt this truth as a storm passed nearby at camp, never raining but causing the temperature to drop, nonetheless. It is a truth we have all experienced during the pandemic. We are connected, in ways we can see and ways that remain invisible.

Culturally we value the individual and being independent. There is indeed value in honoring and celebrating everyone as a unique creation. But the lesson of Noah, the lesson of creation, the lesson of the pandemic is that we are connected deeply to one another and indeed to all of creation. As created people of God we would do well to remember that the health of others and the health of our planet impact everyone.

So, in the spirit of Brethren Woods, how is creation speaking to you? What reminders of our interconnectedness are being spoken to you through creation? How have you experienced this yearning for community? May we continue to let creation speak truth into our faith, may we remember that our God has looked out upon creation and called it very good, and may we continue to glorify our God who continues to create and connect us. Amen             

~ Pastor Nathan