Saturday, October 8, 2011

Creation 1 of 3


It is funny how things work out. A few weeks ago, long before I was asked to do this service on the theme of Creation, I was asked to do a school assembly ... and the theme for that was also Creation.

So I wracked my brains trying to come up with an idea that would give a group of 200 children, ranging in age from 4 to 12, the idea of how fragile the world we live in is ... and I came up with the idea of using a balloon, a pin, and some sticky tape!

Now, most of you will know that that if you put a tape piece of tape on a balloon you can stick a pin in it and it won't burst. It is simple physics – the tape stops the skin of the balloon from tearing open when the pin goes in. But to the children it seemed like magic! They really believed that I had a balloon that wouldn't burst. In fact, after a few pin-sticks I asked the children to raise their hands to show who thought that the balloon wouldn't burst next time ... and most of them thought that it wouldn't!

My idea was that the balloon was the world … and the pin is every-thing we do that's careless or dangerous with our environment … we can think we're being clever … that we know the risks and can control them … and we can get away with it for a while ... but eventually, something goes wrong ... we miss the tape ... or the tape is so full of holes that it can't hold the balloon together any-more ... and it goes bang!

And it does happen ... oil spills, over-fishing leading to collapses in fish-stocks, global warming leading to climate change and drought and starvation ...

In our reading a few minutes ago we heard the story of the creation ... about how God created the world and gave it to us ... the translation uses the words 'subdue' & 'have dominion over' but we shouldn't understand that to mean that we can do what we like ... God gave the world to all his children for all time ... that means that we are not lords and masters but stewards ... it is not ours to destroy if we wish ... it is ours to enjoy for now and look after for those generations that are to come ... and because it belongs to everyone, we can not do damage in one part that will affect those living in another ... when God completed his creation, he said it was very good ... it is not for us to do anything that will make it otherwise ...
(part one of three reflections on the theme of creation given as part of a live  broadcast service on RTE One television 9 Oct 2011)
UPDATE: here's a link to RTE's 'Service on Sunday' in which the above reflection aired. The link is good for 21 days after the original broadcast.

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