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Una Llamada a Una Forma de ser “Teo-cosmológica” / A Call to a “Theo-cosmological” Way of Being

Este es uno de varios sermones escritos en inglés y español por pastores de la Iglesia Luterana de Perú y el Sínodo de la Costa del Golfo Texas-Louisiana, ELCA, para el domingo (3 de junio de 2018) antes del Día del Medio Ambiente (5 de junio de 2018) . El sermón aparece en español primero, luego en inglés, a continuación.

This is one of several sermons being written in English and Spanish by pastors in the Lutheran Church of Peru and the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA, for the Sunday (June 3, 2018) before Environment Day (June 5, 2018). The sermon appears in Spanish first, then in English, below.

Una Llamada a Una Forma de ser “Teo-cosmológica”
Día Ambiental, Junio 2018

Rev. Emmanuel Jackson

Iglesia Luterana Palabra Viva, Katy, Texas

Hace un mes en que mi último tío que sobrevivía se falleció. Su nombre era Charles. Mi tío Charles tenía 76 años y según los estándares de la vida en mi pueblo, vivió mucho más allá de la vida expectativa. Él no fue educado en el sentido clásico de tener premios académicos ni diplomas. Él nunca fue a la escuela. No estoy seguro de que siquiera supiera cómo escribir o deletrear su propio nombre, sin embargo mi tío Charles era una persona especial. Él era un hombre de dones y habilidades extraordinarias. Vivió en la granja toda su vida y era parte de su ecosistema en la granja. Charles era un hombre de la tierra, un cultivador de la tierra, un apasionado de la naturaleza y toda la belleza que existe en ella. Él formó una identidad con su entorno y los dones de la tierra se le mantenía diariamente.

Antes de morir, me pidió que oficie en su funeral, ya que teníamos un gran relación. Mi tío Charles solía hablar con elocuencia profunda sobre la tierra y cómo la tierra nos sostiene en la vida. Él hablaría de cómo somos uno con la naturaleza y que tenemos la obligación de ser respetuosos de lo que ella nos ha dado. El habló sobre dejar que nuestros pies sean plantados firmes para que seamos uno con la comunidad y con el ambiente. En la fiesta de funeral, compartimos historias y celebramos una vida bien vivida. Algunos de los ancianos sirvieron libaciones y ofrendas hacia la tierra y se comprometieron la memoria de Charles a la bondad de Dios. Hablé sobre cómo Charles hizo la forma a mi comprensión de Dios debido a su amor por la tierra. La letra de la canción “Por La Belleza de La Tierra” de Folliott Sandford resonó en mis pensamientos mientras celebramos la vida de Tío Charles:

Por la belleza de la tierra, por la gloria de los cielos,

por el amor que desde nuestro nacimiento

alrededor nosotros está.

Cristo, nuestro Señor, hacia ti elevamos

Nuestro himno de alabanza y acción de gracias.

Elevo un himno de alabanza y acción de gracias porque el conocimiento que tenía tío Charles acerca de Dios vino principalmente a través de su relación con la creación de Dios. Elevo un himno de de alabanza y acción de gracias por el legado de la mayordomía ambiental y teología que él me transmitió; es un regalo que aprecio tanto.

El apóstol Pablo en su carta a los romanos lo explica mejor: “Porque las cosas invisibles de él, su eterno poder y deidad, se hacen claramente visibles desde la creación del mundo, siendo entendidas por medio de las cosas hechas … “(Romanos 1:20) Pablo veía la creación como la reveladora del Creador, y vinculaba el entendimiento cosmológico con el entendimiento teológico. Yo llamo a esto una forma de ser que es “teo-cosmológica.”

A medida que celebramos el Día Mundial del Medio Ambiente estamos invitados a tomar una forma de ser que es “teo-cosmológica.” Estamos invitados en un entendimiento teológico más profundo – el cual que nos abre a una mayor apreciación de nuestro ambiente y nuestra mayordomía de la creación. Estamos invitados a plantar nuestros pies firmes sobre la tierra que nos sostiene. Estamos invitados a vivir maravillados nuevamente por la belleza de la tierra. Estamos invitados a arrepentirnos de nuestro pecado del abuso ambiental. Estamos invitados a conectar nuestra teología y nuestra cosmología. Estamos invitados a vivir más plenamente en la realidad de que nuestro entenderle a Dios se explica mejor en la forma en que entendemos y cuidamos lo que Dios nos ha dado.

Martin Luther estableció la relación entre lo teológico y lo cosmológico en su explicación del Primer Artículo del Credo Apostólico:

Creo en Dios Padre todopoderoso, creador del cielo y de la tierra.

¿Qué significa esto?

Creo que Dios me ha creado a mí juntamente con las demás criaturas; me ha dado mi cuerpo y mi alma, mis ojos y mis oídos y todos mis miembros, mi razón y todos mis sentidos; y aún los sostiene; además, me ha vestido y calzado, comida y bebida, casa y hogar, consorte e hijos, campos, animales y toda clase de bienes; me provee a diario y abundantemente de todo lo que mi cuerpo y mi vida necesitan, me protege de todo peligro y me guarda de todo mal. Y todo esto lo hace por pura bondad y misericordia paternal y divina, sin que yo lo merezca, ni sea digno de ello. Por tanto, estoy obligado a darle gracias por todo y alabarle, servirle, y obedecerle. Esto es ciertamente la verdad.

Que esta verdad que guardamos como certeza nos guíe hacia una forma de ser más teo-cosmológica.

Amén.

A call to a “Theo-cosmological” Way of Being
Environment Day, June 2018

Rev. Emmanuel Jackson

Living Word Lutheran Church, Katy Texas

A month ago, my last surviving uncle died. His name was Charles. Uncle Charles was 76 years old, and by the standards of life in my village in Liberia, he lived well past the average life expectancy. He was not educated in the classical sense of having academic degrees and diplomas. He never went to school. I am not sure he even knew how to write or spell his own name, but Uncle Charles was a special person. He was a man of extraordinary gifts and abilities. He lived on the farm all his life and felt at home with his ecosystem. Charles was a man of the earth, a tiller of soil, a lover of nature and all its beauty. He formed an identity with his environment and was sustained daily by the gifts of the earth.

Before he died he asked that I officiate at his funeral, as we had a great relationship. Uncle Charles would often speak with profound eloquence about the earth and how it sustains life. He would speak relationally of how we are one with nature, and that we have an obligation to be respectful of that which we have been given. He talked about allowing our feet to be planted firm so that you’re one with the community and the environment. At the feast of his homegoing, we shared stories and celebrated a life well lived. Some of the elders poured libation and drank offerings to the earth and committed his memory to God. I spoke about how he shaped my understanding of God because of his love of the land. The lyrics of Folliott Sandford Pierpoint’s Song, For the Beauty of the Earth, rang through my thoughts as we celebrated Uncle Charles:

For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth over and around us lies. Christ, our Lord, to you we raise

This, our hymn of grateful praise.

I raise a grateful hymn of praise because Uncle Charles’ experience of God came primarily through his understanding of creation. I raise a hymn of praise for the legacy of environmental and theological stewardship he passed on; it is a gift I cherish.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans puts it even better, “Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things God has made…” (Romans 1:20) Paul sees creation as revelatory of the creator, and links cosmological understanding to theological understanding. I call this a “theo-cosmological” way of being.

As we look toward World Environment Day, we are invited to do just that. We are invited into a deeper theological understanding that opens us up to greater appreciation of our environment and our stewardship of creation. We are invited to plant our feet firm in the earth which sustains life. We are invited to see and marvel again at the beauty of the earth. We are invited to repent of the sin of environmental abuse. We are invited to make the connection between our theology, and our cosmology. We are invited to live more fully in the reality that our understanding of God is best explained in how we understand and treat what God has given to us.

Martin Luther makes the connection between the theological and the cosmological in his explanation of the First Article of the Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that God has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. God also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. God richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. God defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness, and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

May this most certain truth guide us into a more theo-cosmological way of being. Amen.

Church as Movement

For a recent event with Reggie McNeal I reread his Missional Renaissance book, from nine years ago, much of which has come to pass. I’m also starting his latest book, Kingdom Collaborators: Eight Signature Practices of Leaders Who Turn The World Upside Down.

It’s got me thinking about church as movement. Reggie quotes:

  • “It’s not your fault.” (yesterday)
  • “People looking for meaning don’t search for God in church on Sunday morning.” (Kingdom Collaborators)
  • “People are moving away from affiliation.” (Missional Renaissance)
  • “The current model of doing church is not producing an explosion of leadership.” (Missional Renaissance)
  • “Years of institutionalized church have shrink-wrapped our expectations for the social impact of the church.” (Today)
  • “The church is the largest bundler of social capital.” (Today)
  • “What gets rewards gets done… So we have to change the scorecard, from attendance and budgets to kingdom priorities…” (Missional Renaissance)
  • “Missional churches are not in competition with other churches. They are in competition with the kingdom of darkness that steals life from people.” (Missional Renaissance)
  • “Jesus’ mission did not envision a bunch of people tied up with church word.” (Missional Renaissance)

CAR

Reflecting on Reggie McNeal’s presentations with large church pastors, I’m reminded of the rapidly growing Lutheran Church in the Central African Republic.

When we visited our friends in Africa, we asked them about their evangelism strategy. They talked about their efforts to reduce infant mortality. They talked about Lutheran schools that taught even girls to read. They talked about Muslim Fulani Tribesmen coming for baptism. They didn’t separate evangelism from social ministry. They view the work of Christ in a holistic way.

I recall this tribal chief that I met in the Central African Republic. This gentleman was all smiles when, after hours of driving on deeply pot-holed, single-laned dirt roads through the woods, we pulled into his village of Mbartoua-Ngangene. There is one church in this town, the Lutheran Church. The Lutherans have built the school here as well. The only school. In a society that generally discourages the education of women, the daughters of this Muslim chief were learning to read and write at the school. The smile on his face said it all. I’m sure he wondered why people would travel an ocean to support them. There is no electricity in this village, and there is no running water. This did not stop them from showing hospitality. They killed the fatted calf for us, and the chief invited us into his own home for a meal and conversation. It was a dear moment.

Camp Hope

Peggy Hahn, who now heads up a leadership organization we started (LEAD: WayToLead.org) morphed Vacation Bible School into a full-day, three-week camp led by high school students, at Hope Lutheran Church in Missouri City, Texas, when she was on staff there. It met a need, and developed young leaders. When she moved to Faith in Bellaire, Texas she brought it along with her.

Through the years this ministry caught on in congregation after congregation. Today Camp Hope has been used by dozens of congregations on several countries. This is church as movement. https://waytolead.org/portfolio-item/camp-hope-ministries-2-2/

LEAD

When the Gulf Coast Synod embarked on a strategic planning process, we began with listening. We discovered we weren’t resourcing congregations as well as we should. We imagined how we could, in an era of diminishing resources, do a better job or resourcing congregations. We decided it would be easier to plant a new organization than try to morph the existing one, so we created LEAD. When we launched this new leadership organization we asked Peggy Hahn to lead the charge. Today LEAD offers consulting and coaching to many congregations in several synods. WayToLead.org. The Ten Minute Toolbox has been used by thousands of congregations in every state.

Celebration in Cypress

Celebration traded in their $6,000/month facility, and moved into a social needs home. Residents from the home attend worship. They celebrate with word, sacrament, music and fine arts. They are committed to walking with the poor and marginalized. https://click2celebrate.com.

Water to Thrive

A Bible study group at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church studied poverty and became aware of the importance of clean water. In sub-Saharan Africa 48% of people lack access to clean water. Every 90 seconds a child dies of water-borne diseases. They decided to build some wells. Thy raised money. Other churches got involved. Dick Moeller and friends Gabe birth to Water to Thrive. WaterToThrive.org. Today Water to Thrive has worked with hundreds of congregations and individuals to build thousands of wells in Africa.

Acts of Wisdom

Pastor Brad Otto and Messiah Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas got interested in children’s education in Ethiopia. They had raised money for wells with Water to Thrive. Brad and others had travelled to Ethiopia, fallen in loved and seen the need for schools and school supplies. So they started raising money for this work, which ultimately resulted in a startup non-profit called Acts of Wisdom. http://actsofwisdom.com. Acts of Wisdom is a non-profit charity organization dedicated to assist those in rural Africa in their quest to obtain quality, relevant education.

Are Millennials The Most Generous Generation? https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.entrepreneur.com/amphtml/271466

Urbanization

The church in the US is shifting. Our churches are mostly located in rural and small town areas, where much of the population lived 100+ years ago when they were planted. Urbanization has changed this. Now 80% of Texans live in metropolitan areas. The work of denominations is condemning in managing this shift.

For more about the emptying out of our rural areas, read this article: https://newfoodeconomy.org/rural-kansas-depopulation-commodity-agriculture/#.WvBy31iimcI.email.

Ascension B – May 13, 2018

Acts 1:1-11 – Ascension. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.

Psalm 47 – God has gone up with a shout. (Ps. 47:5)

or

Psalm 93– Ever since the world began, your throne has been established. (Ps. 93:3)

Ephesians 1:15-23– With the eyes of your heart enlightened, may you know the hope to which God has called you.

Luke 24:44-53 – I am sending what the Father promised, so stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.

Environment Day

World Environment Day is June 5. Sunday, June 3 would be an excellent opportunity to preach a sermon on stewardship of the earth. Here in the Gulf Coast, our companion synod, the Lutheran Church of Peru has invited us to do just that. Some of their pastors IMG_0308and some of our pastors will be preparing sermons to be posted later this month in our Gulf Coast Connections blog, in English and in Spanish. If you’re submitting a sermon for this series, we need it this week!

Some texts that could be used:

Genesis 1; Psalm 104:14-30; Colossians 1:15-20; John 1:1-5.

Psalm 24: The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God.

Isaiah 55: The mountains and hills burst forth in song. The trees of the field clap their hands.

Romans 1:20 “Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things God has made.”

And think of this: You’ll have your June 3 sermon written in May. 🙂

A Heart for Reconciliation

A Heart for ReconciliationIn a few weeks, the epistle texts for the Sundays in June, and July 1, will be from 2 Corinthians (chapters 4, 5, 6, 8, 12). Some of us down here in the Gulf Coast Synod have prepared:

  1. A book of daily devotions
  2. Some discussion questions for small groups and
  3. Some background material for pastors and group leaders

The background information and the discussion questions are free for the taking on my blog. There’s also a link to setting up small groups.

The daily devotions with discussion questions are available in paperback or digital at Amazon.

Recruit your small groups leaders. Start some home groups. Contact me if you have questions.

Ascension

We are in the second year of the Revised Common Lectionary, a Markan year, with  plenty of readings from John and Luke. We have just come through three weeks of John texts: John 10, on Good Shepherd Sunday, then John 15 the last two weeks, about being connected to the vine, bearing fruit and loving one another. This week is Ascension Sunday, followed by Pentecost next week.

Ascension Day is one of the six major festivals of the church year. It falls on Thursday, however most Lutheran, Episcopal and Catholic congregations will celebrate it on Sunday.

If you celebrate Ascension on Thursday, you can use the Easter 7B texts on Sunday:

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 – Selection of the final disciple.

Psalm 1 – The righteous flourish.

1 John 5:9-13 – I write that you may know you have eternal life.

John 17:6-19 – Susan Hedahl (Gettysburg Seminary) tells us this gospel reading is the first half of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples before his crucifixion. The prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in the Synoptic gospels does not appear in John.

Ascension

The Feast of the Ascension marks a novena, nine days of prayer for the gift of Holy Spirit after Ascension Thursday, before the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday.

The ascension is a foreshadowing of our entrance into heaven. It is a mystical understanding of the transition from this life to the next both in body and spirit.

Several characters in the Bible are declared to be assumed into heaven: Jesus, Enoch and Elijah. Lutherans do not subscribe to the Assumption of Mary, but in 1950 Pope Pius XII declared:

By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Other religions besides Judaism and Christianity have ascensions. For example, in Hinduism, Yudhishthira of the Mahabharata is believed to be the only human to cross the plane between mortals and heaven in his mortal body. In Islam, Muhammed is believed to have ascended into heaven at the site of Dome of the Rock. An ascension therefore, was a mystical way that ancients proclaimed the uniqueness of a human character with divine qualities.

The Ascension of Jesus is professed in all three ecumenical creeds. Ascension Day is a public holiday in some countries. It is not mentioned by Matthew, Mark or Paul, though the author of Ephesians cryptically alludes to it, saying Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, who has placed all things “under his feet.” It is unknown if these authors were completely unaware of Luke and John’s story of the ascension or if the Ascension simply didn’t figure prominently enough in their theology to mention it. The Ascension appears in Acts (Luke) and is mentioned in John.

Here is a website of some of Luther’s sermons, from an LCMS congregation in Kentucky, arranged by the liturgical year:  http://www.orlutheran.com/html/mlserms.html. There are five Ascension Day sermons here by Luther, three on Mark’s commission (the not-so-great commission) and two on John. The former tend to focus on the things that the post-resurrection Jesus said to the disciples in the 40 days between the resurrection and ascension.

Two things strike me about these sermons by Luther: First, I am struck with how long these sermons are. I have been told by Luther scholars that Luther’s sermons were actually shorter than those of his contemporaries, but these particular sermons are certainly not short by modern standards. Second, I am interested in how mission-focused these sermons are. It’s Luther the evangelism guy. The John sermons are shorter, focused on faith and gospel, as usual. None of them spend time on the actual physical act of ascension. Luther seems more interested in the implications: Jesus’ expectations for his church.

Evangelism

Walter Brueggeman picks up the theme of evangelism in a 2007 Christian Century article. The Ascension is about Jesus’ departure, instructions and promise to return. Like Luther, Brueggeman focuses on the instructions – the church’s marching orders. One might say they are Jesus’ strategic plan for the church:

  1. Stay here.
  2. Receive the gift of power.
  3. Be witnesses.

Notice the outwardly-focused nature of these instructions. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Jerusalem was the city in which they were currently located. Judea was the wider region in which Jerusalem was located. Samaria was the area to the north, the people with whom Jews did not associate. The ends of the earth left the mission field wide open. This vision would be realized on Pentecost when people came from all over the Roman empire to Jerusalem to experience the wind of the spirit, and then return home to spread the good news and be witnesses of what God is doing. This outward mission activity sets the structure of the rest of the Acts of the Apostles: Peter, John, Stephen and the disciples begin in Jerusalem and Judea. By Acts 8 Philip is in Samaria. Eventually we spend the largest part of Acts following Paul to the ends of the earth.

The net affect of all this mission activity was to turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6):

When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city authorities, shouting, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also…”

Would we get accused of this today? Would we be accused of having a witness so compelling that it was turning the world upside down?

Homiletical opportunities abound. The ascension looks to the future, to being clothed with power – power to go forth and be a witness to hope in Christ. “Why do you stand there gazing into heaven?” Perhaps this is Luke’s warning for a hyper-spiritualized church. Getting lost in an other-worldly spirituality that doesn’t focus on the suffering of this world is not consistent with Jesus’ reality-engaging earthly ministry. Don’t stand there gazing merrily up into heaven. Don’t build booths on the Mount of Transfiguration. Get to work on a gritty earthly ministry as Jesus did. Jesus’ church is called to mission. Perhaps this is a good Sunday to preach a sermon on mission, as did Luther.

I leave you with a couple of prayers. First, the Collect for the Feast of the Ascension (from the Mass of St. Pius V):

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who believe Thine only-begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have this day ascended into heaven, may dwell in spirit amid heavenly things. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

Or, here’s one I prayed this morning as I prepared this post:

Life-giving God, before leaving, Jesus commissioned his followers to be witnesses. Grant that your church today may proclaim the love of Christ and the hope of the resurrection at home, in the community and to the ends of the earth, through Jesus Christ. Amen

Como una Semilla de Mostaza / Like a Mustard Seed

Este es uno de varios sermones escritos en inglés y español por pastores de la Iglesia Luterana de Perú y el Sínodo de la Costa del Golfo Texas-Louisiana, ELCA, para el domingo (3 de junio de 2018) antes del Día del Medio Ambiente (5 de junio de 2018) . El sermón aparece en español primero, luego en inglés, a continuación.

This is one of several sermons being written in English and Spanish by pastors in the Lutheran Church of Peru and the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA, for the Sunday (June 3, 2018) before Environment Day (June 5, 2018). The sermon appears in Spanish first, then in English, below.

Image result for mustard tree bird

Como una semilla de mostaza
Día Ambiental, Junio 2018

Rev. Ofelia Dávila
Iglesia Luterana San Juan Camino de Esperanza, Lima, Peru

IV Domingo después de Pentecostés
Junio 17, 2018

Marcos 4:26-34

El Evangelio según san Marcos que vamos a reflexionar  forma parte de la misión de Jesús en Galilea, y el texto  es parte del III bloque que describe la actividad en Galilea.

I. Introducción 1: 1-13
II. Labor en Galilea cap. 1: 14-3:6
III. Culmina su Labor en Galilea 3:7- 6:6a
IV. Extiende su Actividad 6:6b -7:23
V. Retirada a Fenicia y Vuelta cap. 7:24- 8:26
VI. Retirada a Cesárea y Viaje a Jerusalén cap. 8:27 -10:52
VII. En Jerusalén 11:1- 13:37
VIII. Pasión y Resurrección cap. 14:1- 16:20

El texto Marcos 4: 26 -34 nos presenta 2 Parábolas que explican a que se parece el Reino de los cielos, para ello usa ejemplos de la naturaleza y la acción de Dios sobre ella. Ejemplos de la vida cotidiana que realizan las personas en su día a día.

Analicemos las parábolas:

  1. Parábola del sembrador

La primera parábola nos describe a Jesús enseñando a la gente en Galilea con ejemplos de la naturaleza que son fáciles de entender por aquellos que escuchan y que tienen conocimiento de cultivar la tierra  son ejemplos a hombres y mujeres que saben  la labor de sembrar, cuidar y cultivar  una planta.

Jesús comparte a la gente de Galilea que es el Reino transmite su Misión anunciándoles que el reino de los Cielos  es la acción de quien esparce la semilla. (26-29)

“Esparcir la semilla en la tierra  para que brote y crezca”

Si alguna vez han sembrado una semilla de cualquier hortaliza o árbol, han tomado el cuidado de seguir todas las instrucciones de las personas sabias que conocen de este don, el tomar cuidado es necesario para llegar a tener una buena planta sana y que crezca fuerte.

Esparcir la semilla en la tierra y que nazca una planta toma su tiempo, especialmente cuando hay que esperar que la semilla muera y de paso a una nueva vida  trayendo consigo toda esa carga genética, esta acción de nacer es un milagro porque  la fuerza  de una semilla  es un misterio hasta que brote  y se transforme en una planta fuerte.  Sabemos que esto es posible  por  la acción de Dios presente en la naturaleza y toda la creación.

La acción de crecimiento de cualquier árbol  es lenta hasta que llegue a dar frutos. No olvidando que nuestro compromiso cristiano  es “echar la simiente sobre la tierra,  y dejar en libertad  de discernir a hombres o mujeres que  cada uno toma su propio proceso  y no decirle  el o ella en qué lugar o en qué momento el o ella deben dar fruto.  El acompañarles y brindar apoyo con oración o desde escucharles con sabiduría y sin criticar hará que nuestros hermanos y hermanas que reciben la palabra puedan recibirlo y vivirlo, los detalles de abrazar el evangelio y realizar su misión cristiana son conocidos solo por Dios, son a través de frutos que podemos ver sus procesos de vida cristiana.

  1. Parábola del grano de mostaza

Parábola  del grano de mostaza,  es usada por Jesús para describir el reino de los cielos. “Una vez sembrada crece hasta convertirse en la más grande de las hortalizas, y echa ramas tan grandes que las aves pueden anidar bajo su sombra».

Con esta parábola  Jesús  está explicando a las personas que lo escuchan como es  El reino de  Dios. El Reino que  comienza a ser compartido con Jesús, sus discípulos y luego los primeros cristianos después de Pentecostés, haciendo que más personas conozcan el amor y la obra salvífica de Dios, inicia bien pequeño, allí en Galilea la Misión y crece y alarga sus ramos como las de la mostaza  para extenderse en el mundo y hasta que los pajarillos hagan sus nidos.

El texto de Marcos  habla de ejemplos concretos que nos acercan a la naturaleza, la tierra, el tiempo que toma una planta para crecer y dar sus frutos, en este mes que nos comprometimos con el medio ambiente, Reflexionar sobre el Reino de Dios, que es como la acción de un sembrador que pone las semillas en la tierra y deja en libertad a la planta para nacer y brotar de la tierra, abriéndose a la vida y en el ambiente puede encontrar agua , otras plantas que la sofoquen y luchar por vivir. Nos recuerda también la carrera contra el tiempo ahora que nuestro planeta se está sufriendo el calentamiento global y estamos  sobre la marcha a respetar el suelo donde vivimos, y a cuidar nuestros hábitos de cuidado del planeta, ahora a través de las redes podemos compartir experiencias de cómo aprovechar mejor los recursos naturales, de cómo reciclar y no contaminar los ríos y mares.

Observo que en estos últimos años  hemos tomado un poco más de conciencia de cuidar la creación que Dios nos ha confiado. Por ello cuando vamos a la Playa en verano,  enseñamos a los niños y niñas a recoger sus desperdicios y ponerlos en los tachos de basura. La semilla en los corazones y mentes de más personas sobre el cuidado de la creación ahora está siendo una constante, aunque hay mucho por hacer.

En mi opinión,  Hablar del Reino de Dios, es hablar de la bendición de vivir en una sociedad saludable, donde respetemos y cuidemos el lugar donde vivimos,  porque el Reino de Dios es tener vida digna respetando las normas de convivencia no contaminando y promoviendo una sociedad más saludable con un medio ambiente menos contaminado, hagamos nuestra tarea abracemos las

Nuestra salud.  Promover la idea de sembrar un árbol es casi  del pasado, motivemos a nuestros jóvenes a realizar esta actividad porque  este es un proceso de crecimiento.  Faltan trabajador@s en el reino de Dios que “está cerca” (1:15), contamos con la gracia y el amor de Dios para traer el reino, pequeño y aparentemente sin importancia como una semilla de mostaza pero con la gracia divina se “Esparcirá la semilla en la tierra  para que brote y crezca” en los corazones de hombres y mujeres de nuestra iglesia y comunidad.

Pra. Ofelia Dávila LLimpe

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Like a Mustard Seed
Environment Day, June 2018

Rev. Ofelia Dávila
St. John Way of Hope Lutheran Church, Lima Peru

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
June 17, 2018

Mark 4: 26-34

The Gospel according to Mark on which we are going to reflect is part of the mission of Jesus in Galilee, and the text is part of the third block, below, which describes the activity in Galilee.

I. Introduction – 1:1-13
II. Work in Galilee  – 1:14-3:6
III. Culmination of his Work in Galilea – 3:7-6:6a
IV. Extension of his Activity  – 6:6b-7: 23
V. Journey to Phoenicia and Return – 7:24-8:26
VI. Journey to Caesarea and Trip to Jerusalem – 8:27-10:52
VII. In Jerusalem – 11: 1- 13:37
VIII. Passion and Resurrection – 14:1-16:20

The text, Mark 4: 26-34, presents us with two parables that explain what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like, for this, it uses examples from nature and God’s action upon it. Examples of everyday life that people do day by day.

Let’s analyze the parables:

1. Parable of the Sower

The first parable describes Jesus teaching the people in Galilee with examples of nature that are easy to understand by those who listen and who have knowledge of cultivating the land. They are examples to men and women who know the work of sowing, caring for, and cultivating plants.

Jesus shares with the people of Galilee about the Kingdom, explaining his Mission and announcing to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is like one spreading seeds. (26-29). “Spread the seed on the ground so that it sprouts and grows.”

If you have ever sown a seed of any vegetable or tree, have taken care to follow all the instructions of the wise people who have this gift, you know it is necessary to take care, in order to get a good healthy plant that grows strong.

Spreading seeds on the ground and waiting for the plant to be born takes time, especially when you have to wait for the seed to die and for the process of a new life, bringing with it all that genetic baggage. This business of being born is a miracle because the life force of a seed is a mystery until it sprouts and transforms into a strong plant. We know that this is possible because of the action of God present in nature and all of creation.

The action growing any tree is slow until the time it bears fruit. And don’t forget that our Christian commitment is to “cast the seed on the earth, and give people freedom to discern — because they each have their own process — and not tell them when or where they should bear fruit. Accompanying them and offering support with prayer or listening with wisdom and without criticism will make our brothers and sisters who receive the word receive and live it. The details of embracing the gospel and living out their Christian mission are known only by God. It is through these fruits that we can see the processes of Christian life.

2. Parable of the Mustard Seed

The Parable of the Mustard Seed is used by Jesus to describe the kingdom of heaven. “Once planted it grows to become the largest of plants, with branches so large that birds can nest in its shade.”

With this parable Jesus is explaining to the people who listen to him about the kingdom of God. The coming reign is to be shared with Jesus, with his disciples and then with the first Christians after Pentecost, making it so that more people know the love and saving work of God. It begins very small, with the mission in Galilee. Then it grows and stretches out its branches like those of mustard tree, to extend itself in the world so that the birds can make their nests.

The text of Mark gives us concrete examples that bring us closer to nature, the earth, and the time it takes for a plant to grow and bear fruit. In this month in which we have committed ourselves to the environment, we reflect on the reign of God, which is like a sower who scatters the seeds on the earth and sets the plant free to be born and sprout from the earth. Opening itself to life and in the environment it can find water, while other plants struggle and fight to live.  It also reminds us of the race against time now that our planet is suffering from global warming. We are moving toward respecting the soil where we live, and tending to our habits of caring for the planet. Now through networks we can share experiences of how take better advantage of natural resources, how to recycle and not pollute rivers and seas.

I observe that in recent years we become a little more aware of caring for the creation that God has entrusted to us. So when we go to the beach in summer, we teach the children to collect their trash and put it in the trash cans. The seed in the hearts and minds of more people about the care of creation is now becoming a constant, although there is much to be done.

In my opinion, to speak of the Kingdom of God is to speak of the blessing of living in a healthy society, where we respect and take care of the place where we live, because the reign of God is having a dignified life respecting the norms of coexistence — not contaminating but instead promoting a healthier society with a less polluted environment. Let’s do our homework and embrace our health. Promoting the idea of planting a tree is almost a thing of the past. Let’s motivate our young people to carry out this activity because this is a process of growth. Workers are needed in the reign of God that “is near” (1:15). We can count on the grace and love of God to bring in God’s reign, at first small and apparently unimportant, like a mustard seed. But with divine grace, “Seeds will be scattered on the earth so that it springs up and grows” in the hearts of men and women of our church and community.

Pra. Ofelia Dávila LLimpe

 

Lecciónes de los Flores y Pájaros / Lessons from the Flowers and Birds

Este es uno de varios sermones escritos en inglés y español por pastores de la Iglesia Luterana de Perú y el Sínodo de la Costa del Golfo Texas-Louisiana, ELCA, para el domingo (3 de junio de 2018) antes del Día del Medio Ambiente (5 de junio de 2018) . El sermón aparece en español primero, luego en inglés, a continuación.

This is one of several sermons being written in English and Spanish by pastors in the Lutheran Church of Peru and the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA, for the Sunday (June 3, 2018) before Environment Day (June 5, 2018). The sermon appears in Spanish first, then in English, below.

Lecciónes de los Flores y Pájaros
Día Ambiental, Junio 2018

Rev. Diane Roth
Grace Lutheran Church Conroe

Pasé esta mañana encerrado, preparándo para la Sagrada Comunión y hablando sobre la vida. Y viendo los colibríes. Hablamos sobre los tratamientos contra el cáncer y hablamos de la iglesia, por quién debemos orar y por qué debemos dar gracias. Y vimos los colibríes, tan rápido que eran casi invisibles, excepto que nos tomamos el tiempo de señalarlos entre nosotros.

Su esposo dijo que era su lugar favorito en la casa, frente a esta ventana, donde podía ver los colibríes y las ardillas y los pájaros azules jugando en el patio. Pude ver por qué.

Hay tanto de qué preocuparse en el mundo, los tratamientos contra el cáncer y la iglesia, la violencia y el miedo y la división, el calentamiento global y lo que el mundo está enfrentando. Y luego están los colibríes, que no se preocupan por nada de eso, más que los lirios del campo, o los bluebonnets o cualquiera de las otras flores de la pradera que nos traen belleza sin pararse frente a un espejo, preocupados por eso.

Tengo sentimientos encontrados sobre las palabras de Jesús en Mateo 6. Ambos me traen gracia y me juzgan, al mismo tiempo. Me recuerdan que debo confiar en Dios para mi vida, que la creación es un regalo de Dios y que soy parte de ella. Me recuerdan que hay más en la vida que en el trabajo. Las aves del aire y los lirios del campo son hermosos. Y Dios se preocupa por ellos.

Entonces hay gracia en estas palabras, y también hay juicio allí. Porque Jesús dice, ‘no te preocupes por tu vida’, y por supuesto, a diferencia de los lirios del campo, a diferencia de los colibríes del aire, yo sí. Me preocupan las grandes cosas sobre las que no puedo hacer nada, y me preocupan las pequeñas cosas de las que no puedo hacer nada, y me preocupan las cosas sobre las que PUEDO hacer algo. ¿Y de qué me sirve eso? Cuando escucho estas palabras de Mateo 6, sé lo mal que estoy al no preocuparme por las cosas, y me pregunto, ¿cómo sería la vida si reconociera mi lugar como parte del orden creado, dejara de estar ansioso y solo hizo lo que Dios me ha llamado a hacer.

Por supuesto, somos diferentes a las flores y los pájaros, porque Dios nos ha llamado a cuidarlos. Dios nos ha llamado a cuidar las flores, a cuidar a los animales, a sembrar y cosechar y a asegurarnos de que todos tengan lo suficiente. Pero no te preocupes

A veces pienso que hacemos el mayor daño al resto de la creación simplemente PORQUE nos preocupamos. Debido a que nos preocupamos de que no tendremos suficiente para comer, acumulamos y terminamos desperdiciando. Debido a que nos preocupamos de que no tendremos suficiente para vestirnos, seguimos acumulando cosas y riquezas que terminan contaminando el mundo. Porque nos preocupamos por nuestras vidas y si Dios realmente se preocupará por nosotros, no prestamos atención a las necesidades de nuestros vecinos. La contaminación proviene de la ansiedad. La contaminación proviene de nuestro deseo de acumular más y más, de competir entre nosotros por más y más, para asegurarnos de que nuestro futuro sea seguro. La contaminación proviene de la preocupación, porque prestamos atención a las cosas equivocadas y no prestamos atención a las cosas que importan.

No te angusties, Dios nos dice. Sé a quién te he llamado a ser. Cuidar a la viuda y al huérfano, a los débiles y a los vulnerables. Cuidado del colibrí, la oruga y las magnolias. Cuida los cielos y los que los habitan. Cuida los mares y las criaturas que encuentran un hogar allí. Encuentra tu lugar en la creación y confía en que también eres valioso, también estás lleno de belleza.

Hace algunos años compré un hermoso libro ilustrado. Me llamó la atención, como a menudo hacen los hermosos libros ilustrados. El tema: todas las pinturas de animales que ahora están extintos. Una historia en particular me llamó la atención: la historia de la paloma mensajera. Hubo un tiempo en que había tantos que nadie sospechó que se hubieran ido. Miles volaron en el cielo. Fue una vista increíble. Pero los cazadores a veces mataban a 200 cientos por día. Fueron cazados hasta la extinción.

Estuvimos prestando atención a las cosas equivocadas, y no prestamos atención a las cosas que importan.

No estés ansioso, Jesús nos dice. Y allí estaba yo, sentado y mirando por la ventana a los colibríes, hablando sobre los tratamientos contra el cáncer y la iglesia, sobre las cosas que nos mantienen despiertos por la noche, las cosas que debemos dejar en las manos de Dios: toda nuestra vida. Y cuando miramos por la ventana a los colibríes, encontramos una extraña paz. Al menos yo lo hice. Me imaginé que mi compañero también lo hizo. Es por eso que era su lugar favorito en la casa.

Es la paz de conocer nuestro lugar en la creación. Es la paz de confiar en Dios, de no buscar más, de estar contentos, incluso si es solo por ese momento.

Y Jesús dice: “Pero busca primero el Reino de los Cielos y su justicia, y todas estas cosas te serán añadidas”. Y esto es lo que no creo que quiera decir: no creo que él quiera decir, busca primero tu salvación individual y personal, y todas estas cosas se agregarán a usted. Eso suena interesado, como si nuestra mayor preocupación fuera nosotros mismos. Creo que quiere buscar primero el Reino que inaugura la muerte y la resurrección de Jesús: el reino donde se valora a los débiles y vulnerables, el reino donde los pobres y los pequeños son llamados amados; el reino donde los lirios del campo y las aves del cielo proclaman el amor de Dios. Busque primero el shalom que Dios nos da en la cruz, no solo usted, y no solo yo, sino todos nosotros, y toda la creación.

Amén.

Lessons from the Flowers and Birds
Environment Day, June 2018

Rev. Diane Roth
Grace Lutheran Church Conroe

Matthew 6:25-34

I spent this morning with a shut-in, preparing for Holy Communion and talking about life.  And watching the hummingbirds.  We talked about cancer treatments and church, who we should pray for and what we should give thanks for.  And we watched the hummingbirds, so fast they were almost invisible, except that we took the time to point them out to each other.

Her husband said it was her favorite place in the house, in front of this window, where she could watch the hummingbirds and the squirrels and the bluebirds playing in the yard. I could see why.

There is so much to worry about in the world, cancer treatments and church, violence and fear and division, global warming and what the world is coming to.  And then there are the hummingbirds, who don’t worry about any of it, any more than the lilies of the field, or the bluebonnets or any of the other prairie flowers that bring us beauty without standing in front of a mirror, worrying about it.

I have mixed feelings about Jesus’ words in Matthew 6.  They both bring me grace and judge me, at the same time.  They remind me to trust God for my life, that creation is a gift from God, and that I am a part of it.  They remind me that there is more to life than work.  The birds of the air and the lilies of the field are beautiful.  And God cares for them.

So there is grace in these words, and there is judgment there too.  Because Jesus says, ‘don’t worry about your life,’ and of course, unlike the lilies of the field, unlike the hummingbirds of the air, I do.  I worry about big things that I can’t do anything about, and I worry about small things that I can’t do anything about, and I worry about things that I CAN do something about.  And what good does that do me?  When I hear these words from Matthew 6, I know how bad I am at not worrying about things, and I have to wonder, how would life be different if I acknowledged my place as a part of the created order, stopped being anxious and just did what God has called me to do.

Of course, we are different than the flowers and the birds, because God has called us to care for them.  God has called us to tend the flowers, to care for the animals, to sow and to reap and to make sure that everyone has enough.  But not to worry.

Sometimes I think that we do the most harm to the rest of  creation simply BECAUSE we worry.  Because we worry we won’t have enough to eat, we stockpile and end up wasting.  Because we worry that we won’t have enough to wear, we keep accumulating things and wealth that end up polluting the world.  Because we worry about our lives and whether God will really care for us, we don’t pay attention to our neighbors’ needs.  Pollution comes from anxiety.   Pollution comes from our desire to accumulate more and more, to compete with one another for more and more, to make sure our future is secure.  Pollution comes from worry, because we are paying attention to the wrong things, and not paying attention to the things that matter.

Do not be anxious, God tells us.  Be who I have called you to be.   Care for the widow, and the orphan, the weak and the vulnerable.  Care for the hummingbird and the caterpillar, and the magnolias.  Care for the skies and the ones who inhabit them.  Care for the seas and the creatures who find a home there.  Find your place in creation, and trust that you also are of value, you also are arrayed in beauty.

A number of years ago I bought a beautiful picture book.  It caught my eye, as beautiful picture books often do.  The subject:  all paintings of animals which are now extinct.   One particular story struck me:  the story of the passenger pigeon.  At one time there were so many of them that no one ever suspected that they would be gone.  Thousands flew in the sky.  It was an amazing sight.  But hunters would sometimes kill 200 hundred a day.  They were hunted to extinction.

We were paying attention to the wrong things, and not paying attention to the things that matter.

Do not be anxious, Jesus tells us.  And there I was, sitting and looking out the window at the hummingbirds, talking about cancer treatments and church, about the things that keep us up at night, the things we need to leave in God’s hands:  our whole life.  And when we looked out the window at the hummingbirds, we encountered a strange peace.  At least I did.  I imagined that my companion did as well.  That’s why it was her favorite place in the house.

It is the peace of knowing our place in creation.  It is the peace of trusting God, of not grasping for more, of being content, even if just for that moment.

And Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of Heaven and it’s righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  And here’s what I don’t think he means:  I don’t think he means, seek first your individual and personal salvation, and all these things will be added to you.  That sounds self-serving still, as if our biggest concern is ourselves.  I think he means to seek first the Kingdom that Jesus’ death and resurrection inaugurates:  the kingdom where the weak and the vulnerable are valued, the kingdom where the poor and the small are named beloved; the kingdom where the lilies of the field and the birds of the air proclaim the love of God.  Seek first the shalom that God gives us on the cross – not just you, and not just me, but all of us – and all of creation.

Amen.

Creación es Revelación / Creation is Revelation

Este es uno de varios sermones escritos en inglés y español por pastores de la Iglesia Luterana de Perú y el Sínodo de la Costa del Golfo Texas-Louisiana, ELCA, para el domingo (3 de junio de 2018) antes del Día del Medio Ambiente (5 de junio de 2018) . El sermón aparece en español primero, luego en inglés, a continuación.

This is one of several sermons being written in English and Spanish by pastors in the Lutheran Church of Peru and the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA, for the Sunday (June 3, 2018) before Environment Day (June 5, 2018). The sermon appears in Spanish first, then in English, below.

IMG_0308Creación es Revelación
Día Ambiental, Junio 2018
Obispo Miguel Rinehart
El Sínodo de la TX-LA Costa del Golfo

Génesis 1 – Siete días de creación. Es bueno.
Génesis 2 – Adán y Eva en el jardín.
Isaías 55 – Las montañas y las colinas estallan en canto. Los árboles del campo aplauden sus manos.
Job 38 – ¿Dónde estabas tú cuando puse los cimientos de la tierra?

Salmo 24 – La tierra es del Señor y su plenitud.
Salmo 19 – Los cielos declaran la gloria de Dios.
Salmo 104: 14-30 – ¡Oh Señor! ¡Cuán variadas son tus obras!

Romanos 1:20 – La creación revela a Dios.
Romanos 8: 19-25 – La creación duele para liberarse de la esclavitud y la decadencia.
Colosenses 1: 15-20 – Cristo, el primogénito de toda la creación, murió para reconciliar todas las cosas en el cielo y en la tierra.

Mateo 6: 25-34 – Considera los lirios.
Juan 1: 1-5 – En el principio era El Verbo.

La Biblia comienza en un jardín. La tierra es un jardín exuberante, que se nos da libremente para nuestro placer. Y Dios dijo: “Es bueno”. Y Dios puso a Adán y Eva a cargo del jardín, de labrar la tierra y llenar la tierra.

Mientras escribo este sermón, las flores de primavera brotan de alegría. Los lirios de Pascua proclaman la gloria de Dios. Los pájaros están cantando las alabanzas de Dios fuera de mi ventana. Los árboles del campo, aplauden con la brisa. Mi perro, Beau, se sienta contento con su cabeza apoyada en mi pierna. Él está feliz de estar en casa escribiendo un sermón. Lo miro. Él me mira, buscando mi entendimiento en la cara. Su cola se mueve. Somos dos criaturas de la tierra vivas al mismo tiempo. Miembros de la misma familia.

Beau es amable, no es un luchador. Él solo quiere pasar el rato. Él solo quiere ser. No hay pasado ni futuro. Solo está la eterna ahora. Él no guarda rencor. Él vive por el momento. Él vive por amor. Aprendemos mucho de nuestras relaciones con los animales.

Salmo 19 dice que toda la creación revela la gloria de Dios. Hablamos de Jesús como la revelación de Dios, y las Escrituras son revelaciónes también, pero la creación también nos revela a Dios. Romanos 1:20 dice:

Porque desde la creación del mundo las cualidades invisibles de Dios, es decir, su eterno poder y su naturaleza divina, se perciben claramente a través de lo que él creó…

Philip Sherard dice: “La creación no es más que la manifestación del ser escondido de Dios.”

William Blake dijo: “Todo lo que vive es santo.”La iglesia es la mayordoma de todo lo que es santo. ¿Cómo cambiarían las cosas si realmente creyéramos que toda la creación fuera santa?

Jesús usa la tierra para enseñarnos acerca de la vida. En Mateo 6(:25-34) dice:

Por eso les digo: No se preocupen por su vida, qué comerán o beberán; ni por su cuerpo, cómo se vestirán. ¿No tiene la vida más valor que la comida, y el cuerpo más que la ropa? 26 Fíjense en las aves del cielo: no siembran ni cosechan ni almacenan en graneros; sin embargo, el Padre celestial las alimenta. ¿No valen ustedes mucho más que ellas? 27 ¿Quién de ustedes, por mucho que se preocupe, puede añadir una sola hora al curso de su vida?

28 »¿Y por qué se preocupan por la ropa? Observen cómo crecen los lirios del campo. No trabajan ni hilan; 29 sin embargo, les digo que ni siquiera Salomón, con todo su esplendor, se vestía como uno de ellos. 30 Si así viste Dios a la hierba que hoy está en el campo y mañana es arrojada al horno, ¿no hará mucho más por ustedes, gente de poca fe? 31 Así que no se preocupen diciendo: “¿Qué comeremos?” o “¿Qué beberemos?” o “¿Con qué nos vestiremos?” 32 Los paganos andan tras todas estas cosas, pero el Padre celestial sabe que ustedes las necesitan. 33 Más bien, busquen primeramente el reino de Dios y su justicia, y todas estas cosas les serán añadidas. 34 Por lo tanto, no se angustien por el mañana, el cual tendrá sus propios afanes. Cada día tiene ya sus problemas.

Estamos inextricablemente ligados a la tierra. Nuestros cuerpos son polvo. Polvo de estrellas, como la tierra. Dependemos de los árboles por oxígeno. Dependemos del sol para el calor y la luz. Dependemos de la tierra por la comida. Nuestro destino está ligado al destino de la tierra. Esta tierra verde es un regalo gratis que nos ha dado. Es una alegría cuidarla.

Cuando no nos importa la bienestar de la tierra, nosotros mismos sufrimos. El pecado es una relación quebrantada. El pecado es una relación quebrantada con Dios, con los demás y con toda la creación.

Cuando contaminamos las aguas, son nuestros hijos e hijas quienes son envenenados. Cuando desplazamos el petróleo y el gas, la tierra literalmente gime. El agua subterránea en las islas Bikini está contaminada y los cocos son radiactivos. Chernóbil es inhabitable. Cuando Corea del Sur detonó una bomba nuclear debajo de una montaña, la tierra lloró y se estremeció. El suelo está envenenado, junto a nuestros cultivos. Los animales están desplazados. Nuestro odio y pecado no solo nos duele, tiene implicaciones para todo el cosmos.

En Romanos 8, Pablo dice:

La creación aguarda con ansiedad la revelación de los hijos de Dios, 20 porque fue sometida a la frustración. Esto no sucedió por su propia voluntad, sino por la del que así lo dispuso. Pero queda la firme esperanza 21 de que la creación misma ha de ser liberada de la corrupción que la esclaviza, para así alcanzar la gloriosa libertad de los hijos de Dios.

 22 Sabemos que toda la creación todavía gime a una, como si tuviera dolores de parto. 23 Y no solo ella, sino también nosotros mismos, que tenemos las primicias del Espíritu, gemimos interiormente, mientras aguardamos nuestra adopción como hijos, es decir, la redención de nuestro cuerpo. 24 Porque en esa esperanza fuimos salvados. Pero la esperanza que se ve ya no es esperanza. ¿Quién espera lo que ya tiene? 25 Pero, si esperamos lo que todavía no tenemos, en la espera mostramos nuestra constancia.

La redención, entonces, no es solo para nosotros. Es para toda la tierra, para todo el cosmos. La creación gime, esperando su liberación. Los poderes del pecado, la muerte y el diablo desean desfigurar y distorsionar la tierra. Cristo quiere redimirla.

Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, el cosmos, que dio a su Hijo …

“Dios tiene la intención de inundar la creación con amor,” dice N. T. Wright.

Cuando estamos en Cristo, hay una nueva creación. A Dios le importa nada más que una nueva creación y una nueva humanidad: la renovación de la humanidad en la imagen de Cristo.

Así que hermanos y hermanas en Cristo, vivan en amor como Cristo nos amó, y se entregó a sí mismo por nosotros, un sacrificio fragante. Amanse a Dios; ama a tu prójimo; ama al extraño; ama a tu enemigo; ama a la tierra, ama a los árboles. Cuando amamos, como Cristo nos amó, inundamos la tierra con el amor de Dios. Las relaciones se restauran, con Dios, el uno con el otro, con toda la creación. Y luego, en la vida y el amor, en la muerte y la resurrección, el mundo que Dios ama tanto, todo el cosmos, será redimido.

 

IMG_0332

Creation is Revelation
Environment Day, June 2018
Bishop Michael Rinehart
TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod

Genesis 1 – Seven days of creation. It is good.
Genesis 2 – Adam and Eve in the garden.
Isaiah 55 – The mountains and hills burst forth in song. The trees of the field clap their hands.
Job 38 – Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

Psalm 24 – The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.
Psalm 19 – The heavens declare the glory of God.
Psalm 104:14-30 – O Lord, how manifold are your works.

Romans 1:20 – Creation reveals God.
Romans 8:19-25 – Creation aches to be set free from bondage and decay.
Colossians 1:15-20 – Christ, the firstborn of all creation, died to reconcile all things in heaven and on earth.

Matthew 6:25-34 – Consider the lilies.
John 1:1-5 – In the beginning was the Word.

The Bible begins in a garden. The earth is a lush garden, given to us freely for our pleasure. And God said, “It is good.” And God put Adam and Eve in charge of the garden, to till the earth and fill the earth.

As I write this sermon, the spring flowers are bursting forth with joy. The Easter lilies proclaim the glory of God. The birds are singing God’s praises outside my window. The trees of the field, clap their hands in the breeze. My dog, Beau, sits contentedly with his head resting on my leg. He is happy I am home writing a sermon. I look at him. He looks at me, searching my face for understanding. His tail wags. We are two creatures of the earth alive at the same time. Members of the same family.

Beau is a lover, not a fighter. He just wants to hang out. He just wants to be. There is no past or future. There is just the eternal now. He does not hold grudges. He lives for the moment. He lives for love. We learn much from our relationships with the animals.

Psalm 19 says all creation reveals the glory of God. We speak of Jesus as the revelation of God, and Scripture too, but creation also reveals God to us. Romans 1:20 says,

Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things God has made.

Philip Sherard says, “Creation is nothing less than the manifestation of God’s hidden being.”

William Blake said, “Everything that lives is holy.” The church is the steward of all that is holy. How would it change things if we truly believed all creation was holy?

Jesus uses the earth to teach us about life. In Matthew 6 he says,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

We are inextricably bound to the earth. Our bodies are dust. Stardust, like the earth. We depend upon the trees for oxygen. We depend upon the sun for heat and light. We depend upon the earth for food. Our fate is tied to the earth’s fate. This green earth is a free gift, given to us. It is out joy to care for it.

When we do not care for it, we ourselves suffer. Sin is a broken relationship. Sin is a broken relationship with God, with one another and with all creation.

When we pollute the waters, it is our children who are poisoned. When we displace oil and gas, the earth literally groans. The groundwater at the Bikini Islands is contaminated and the coconuts are radioactive. Chernobyl is uninhabitable. When South Korea detonated a nuclear bomb under a mountain, the earth wept and quaked. The soil is poisoned, along with our crops. The animals are displaced. Our hatred and sin does not just hurt us, it has implications for the entire cosmos.

In Romans 8 Paul says,

…creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Redemption then, is not just for us. It is for the whole earth, for the entire cosmos. Creation is groaning, waiting for its liberation. The powers of sin, death and the devil wish to deface and distort the earth. Christ wants to redeem it.

For God so loved the world, the cosmos, that he gave his Son…

“God intends to flood creation with love,” N. T. Wright says.

Whenever we are in Christ, there is a new creation. God is about nothing less than a new creation, and a new humanity — the remaking of humanity in the image of Christ.

So brothers and sisters in Christ, live in love as Christ loved us, and gave himself up for us, a fragrant sacrifice. Love God; love your neighbor; love the stranger; love your enemy; love the earth, love the trees. When we love, as Christ loved us, we flood the earth with the love of God. Relationships are restored, with God, with one another, with all of creation. And then, in life and love, in death and resurrection, the world that God loves so much, the whole cosmos, will be redeemed.

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