Pemaquid ?Earth Mass? at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Genesis 1:26-31; John 1:1-13

September 7, 2014 by Ken Dale

Over the past year or two we have considered the time of transition the Christian Church is in ? in sermons and our Lenten study. Christendom is no longer, even the Chrystal Cathedral has gone bankrupt, and the mainline church is on the decline but we aware and attentive to it ? seeking God?s leading. The Roman Catholic Church is experiencing something new and different with Pope Francis. Carl Jung observed that in the Christian resurrection story the risen Christ is not found where his body was laid. The story is not about resuscitation but about resurrection ? not about reviving the old but about something new emerging from death.

John Philip Newell says that this is the way of the universe, made of God, forever finding its new form, forever unfolding into what has never been before. I read many years ago that scientists say matter is coming into existence at a rate of a nonillion tons per second. That?s a 1 with 30 zeros after it. Newell says it is also the way of our souls, our lives, our communities ? all made of God. Of the church he says we are deeply immersed in collapse as well as the early stirrings of new birth ? and it?s difficult to define. But there are some clear intimations of what the rebirthing might look like and there are modern day prophets Christian and other faiths who are clearly pointing the way.

In his book the Rebirthing of God, he speaks of our need to reconnect ? with compassion, with spiritual practice, and with love, just to name a few But the first thing he speaks of is reconnecting with the Earth ? coming back into relationship with the sacredness of the earth. The earth?s well being is an essential part of our well-being. In that first creation story in Genesis we read Then God said let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish, birds, cattle, wild animals, – every creeping thing! How do we understand dominion? Yes it means ?rule? ? but we rule under God. Ultimate and eternal dominion over all things belongs to God. Perhaps our dominion is better understood as steward, we are overseers of this God given gift called Earth. Looking at today?s world one cannot help but look in awe and say ?what have we done? both in our relationships with each other as nations and in relationship with the gift that is the Earth. I don?t think I need to go into details about abuse and exploitation it is great enough to speak for itself. How do we get back on the track God intended?

God?s Creation ? the universe ? has been likened to a great mighty river that is in flow and from that, single smaller streams emerge. They are to be celebrated and cherished ? each unique. And within that flow everything is interrelated. We have lost touch with that, yet it seems that there are so many opportunities to be in touch with God?s creation. We need to stop and look and be open to what is right in front of us!

Have you seen the recent clip of the little kids watching a beluga whale in at Mystic aquarium in CT? The whale is right in front of the kids at the window and the whale keeps jerking and opening his mouth startling the kids ? getting a reaction out of them!?? It?s more like the whale is watching the kids than the kids watching the whale. I sat on my front porch and the hummingbird feeders were empty.?? A hummingbird actually got right in front of me and moved about in such a way that I got up and filled the feeders. I?ve had the same thing happen at my brother?s camp up north while sitting on the swing before I put the feeders out. Just the other day Kathy and I were standing in front of the picture window ? she was passing me the phone as my son had called. Suddenly there was a hummingbird on the other side of glass ? just checking us out ? she looked just like the one that confronted me on the porch! I?m sure there are countless such stories here today if we would share. Just think of the relationship you have with your dog or cat! How can we look out at the view behind me or up into a star filled night sky and not know that this gift of God in Creation is not interrelated??? Even those views speak to us and carry a message ? IF WE BUT LISTEN!

John Philip Newell notes that in the Celtic world there is a great fondness for Jesus? beloved disciple John ? the one who leaned against Jesus at the Last Supper. John became an image of listening for the heartbeat of God within all things. An early writing of John (not in the Bible) the Acts of John, includes a beautiful description of the Last Supper that is unfamiliar to us. Jesus invites the disciples to form a circle so that they can conclude the meal with a Hebrew circle dance. At one point in the dance Jesus is standing in the middle and says ?THE WHOLE UNIVERSE TAKES PART IN THE DANCING.? Newell?s point is that Jesus is the memory that we have forgotten ? that everything moves in relationship. Jesus comes to lead us not into detachment from the earth and its peoples but into a dance that will bring us back into relationship with all things. Jesus points to that which is deepest within each of us ? the desire to move into harmony.

Today may we be mindful of the Cathedral of Earth and Sea and Sky!! With this in mind ? the other night I was standing in my driveway looking up into star filled sky ? so mindful of how vast God?s creation is ? and that it continues to become ? and how awesome it is to be part of it all! If we are in touch with the sacredness of this gift ? how can we not also understand ourselves to be called to take care of our tiny part of it in any and every way we can? To treat it all as sacred ground!

John Philip Newell was invited to the Cathedral of St. John in New York City for St. Francis Sunday. Hours before the service hundreds of people were waiting in line with their dogs and cats, pets of every kind. That service packs the church even more than Christmas and Easter. Toward the end of the liturgy there was what is called the Silent Procession of the Creatures ? silent to honor them and also so as not to startle them. The huge west wing doors opened and in came a glorious train of critters ? large and small ? exotic and domestic ? all led by a camel followed by a boa constrictor. Newell was moved to tears and what impressed him most was that the Church was not telling the people what to believe ? they already knew what they believed ? the Church?s role was to serve that deep knowing and help translate it into how we live together with earth. My hope and prayer for us today as we worship in this Roofless Cathedral is that we accept that invitation into a new humility ? to serve the holy wisdom that is already stirring in the hearts of people everywhere, the growing awareness of earth?s interrelatedness and sacredness. (J.P.Newell).