Exploring God’s Creation

As I was preparing for this coming Sunday’s service (Sunday, Dec 18), it seemed to me that it would be appropriate to set aside the standard Lectionary readings and theme for the day, and focus instead on the message of Christmas. (This is, in part because my Congregation has decided to not have a service on Christmas Day, Sunday, Dec 25th: when Christmas falls on a Sunday, most churches have a very small attendance. So, why have me drive all the way out there on Christmas Day, just to minister to a much smaller than normal congregation? Better to use my skills and talents elsewhere. They are right, and I am grateful, as it is a long drive.)

As I reflected on this, I thought of how Christmas reminds us that God (who is omniscient, omnipresent, and – most importantly – nonhuman) was so moved by love and compassion for their Creation that they decided to set aside their divine existence and walk with us as a human being. This meant being born as a human being, growing up as a human being, experiencing all the joys, victories, pains and sorrows of humanity, and finally dying – as a human being.

The message of our faith centers on the reality of the Christ Child, who is also known as Emmanuel, “God with us. And, as I see it, God IS with us a very tangible, real sense. Our Creator is not some amorphous and invisible spirit inhabiting an ethereal realm far beyond our understanding. Instead, the life of Jesus shows that God walks with us, eats with us, suffers with us, laughs with us, and cares deeply about us: always has, and always will.

And yet, our entire world is just a tiny speck in the vastness of Creation. Just how little of a speck we are is made more apparent with each and every new revelation of science; especially through Astronomy and Space Exploration, which are (after all) endeavors that reach out into the vastness of space to see what is there. In so doing, we realize that we are not, and cannot be, at the center of all that is; even though our most ancient myths place us in such a position.

So, I’ve created this little video for you. It reflects upon several aspects of the expansion of our knowledge of God’s Creation and our place within it, and attempts to illustrate that growth while retaining some perspective on just how small “human scale” is in comparison.

And besides, through this I am indulging my inner “Space and Astronomy” geek!

Enjoy!
-Pastor Allen


Copyright (c) 2016, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved.  I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as proper credit for my authorship is given. (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site – or just email me and ask!)

 

Sermon: Knowledge and Faith

sistine-chapel-ceiling-creation-of-adam-1510I’ve been pondering how faith operates in and through us – both positively and negatively.

For a positive example, I look to our own congregation: We saw faith at work last night in our Annual Meeting – a time of remembering, visioning and deciding; sharing our knowledge, and evaluating the effectiveness of the wealth, wisdom and work we’ve expended in the past year. It was a time of counting up the resources available to us and deciding how to best utilize them to accomplish the mission and goals we believe are a part of our journey into the future.

That meeting, just like this worship service, and the many other things we do – either individually or jointly – are all positive, beneficial, things – or at least we see them as such. And, we see them as expressions of our faith.

Inhofe
Senator Jim Inhofe

On the other hand, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe frequently quotes the Bible to “prove as he says, that “…The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful, they can change climate. Man can’t change climate.” This is the perspective he works-from in his new post as chair of the Senate’s Committee on the Environment and Public Works: a placement of faith ahead of Science, to the exclusion of science in fact. Is this also Faith?  If so, is it a beneficial application of faith?

It seems to me that we need to understand what Faith is, since what it is is central to who we are as Christians, and therefore critical in our discernment and pursuit of God’s Call upon our lives.

Continue reading “Sermon: Knowledge and Faith”