As we now enter the last days of summer I am reminded of the many summer days I spent at the beach as a kid. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is going to the beach with my nephews. Many of them LOVE to make sandcastles. They often spend thirty minutes or more constructing two-story castles out of sand and water. One time my nephew built a beautiful sandcastle and spent a lot of time creating and he even gave it a name. When he was finished it was not but five minutes later that a giant wave knocked it down, and the castle crumbled and my nephew was very sad.
This week we too have watched part of God’s creation crumble as we have watched the devastation in the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian. Houses are completely submerged in water. Whole towns have been taken out. Over 13,000 homes are utterly destroyed. The satellite images look completely different from before and after the storm. It appears that part of God’s good creation has crumbled before our eyes.
This week we start our sermon series and small group study, “In Twelve Words…” Our first word is creation. In Genesis, there are two stories of creation. The story of creation is dramatic with God simply lifting God’s voice and things taking shape. Yet, soon after the climax of creation, we find that creation is also very fragile. By chapter 3 it only takes a small snake for Adam and Eve to risk everything for a bit more knowledge. Chapter 4 of Genesis tells of the murder of Abel by his brother Cain.
God created humans and nature with such good intentions and care and very quickly much had changed. This week we learn from the story of Genesis that creation and relations are never a “given”. We can have things one day and the next they can be gone both due to our actions or those of others and even by natural disasters beyond our control.
It’s in times when creation crumbles that we realize what is most important and the things that survive when all else fails.
What survived for Adam and Eve was their relationship with God. God was even so gracious to forgive Cain and give him a second chance. Although Cain had lost everything after killing his brother his relationship with God remained.
Paul said the greatest gifts are faith, hope, and love! These are the very things I believe was in God’s heart as God created the world and continues to be in relationship with us.
This week as we are grateful for what we have and reflect on what has been taken away from so many in the Bahamas I pray that we might be most grateful for the best gifts: faith, hope, and love. As we collect diapers and canned goods may we also pray fervent prayers for those in the Bahamas that they too might cling to faith, hope and love as they battle daily to keep going amid heat and destruction.
When all else seems to crumble may we cling to the gifts of faith, hope, and love!
See you on Sunday,