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Season of Creation
Series C: The Wisdom Series
Some Pointers for Preachers
by D. Keith Innes
The Scripture quotations contained herein are from The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and are used by permission. All rights reserved.
Fourth Sunday in Creation
Theme: Cosmos Sunday
The wisdom of God is fundamental to the universe. God's wisdom is older than the earth (22-26), and is concerned with establishing God-given limits and boundaries (27-29). Wisdom rejoices (or plays) in God's presence and in God's creation, and particularly delights in the human race (30-31). The figure of divine wisdom points forward to the Word of God, instrumental in creation but incarnate in Jesus (John 1:1-18). For 'master worker' (30) another translation is 'little child', which seems to fit the context better.
Verses 1-6: Yahweh is to be praised from the heavens (1) - the transcendent realm of angelic beings (2), of the heavenly bodies (3), and of the watery atmosphere which the ancients visualised as 'waters above the heavens' (4). The reason for their praise is that Yahweh created and ordered them (5-6).
Verses 7-14: Yahweh is also to be praised from the earth (7a), by the sea and its inhabitants (7b), meteorological phenomena (8), mountains and vegetation (9), wild and domesticated creatures (10), and the whole range of human life (11-12). The creation is to praise God for God's attributes and God's glory (13). Praise reaches its climax among the people of God, who belong to God and are close to God (14). God has given them a raised horn, i.e. given them prestige and power ('exalted his people in the pride of power', REB). The whole creation expresses God's praise by its very being. The people of God can also praise God for the full revelation of God's character which Christians see in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In language that recalls the depiction of Wisdom in Proverbs 8, but goes beyond it, we are shown God the Son, supreme over all creation (15) and over the church (18). He is 'the image of the invisible God' (compare John 1:18: 'No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son... who has made him known.') He is central to the whole creation, all things and all powers, physical, political or even demonic (16). Not only is he before the universe; he also holds it together (17). His resurrection marks him out also as Lord of the new creation (18). In him the whole nature of God is present (19). The peace with God made possible by the Cross extends not only to people but to the whole creation which is implicated in human rebellion and sin (20; see Romans 8:18 -25).
This chapter begins with the feeding of the five thousand (1-14). Jesus' walking on the lake and easing the journey to the far shore follows in 16-21. Although Jesus evades an attempt to make him a worldly king (15), the overall message is that he is Lord of the cosmos. The dialogue with the Jewish crowds follows from verse 25. The high point is reached in our passage which speaks of Jesus as the bread of life that must be eaten in order to receive eternal life. Faith in Jesus, the Son of God, involves a relation to him as intimate as the relation between body and food. Because he is Lord of creation, such a relation should lead to a transformed relationship with the whole of the created world. The symbolism of this passage is expressed in the Eucharist.
Copyright © 2012 Christian Ecology Link and Keith Innes http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk
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