Monday, September 29, 2014

Creation and control

Sermon preached at Our Lady of Walsingham and St Francis on the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity being our Harvest Festival.

It seems that Our Lord would not think a great deal for harvest festivals. After all, we seem to be ploughing the fields and scattering needlessly. He says quite categorically: “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

Perhaps we should behave like the animals do, and just let things happen. Actually, Our Lord does have a point.

Animals don’t sin.

We might think they do when they leave presents on the carpet, but we know full well that we cannot attribute that to wickedness or unkindness. What do we say? “They don’t know any better.” But we do, and that’s the problem.


St Francis reminds us that we are not just creations of God, we are all part of one single creation. We’re in this together. In that sense, the animals are as much part of our family as we are. We can take that further and say that the wheat, and the barley and crops are part of our family too.

That sounds as if we’re going a bit too far. You’re not going to count a geranium as your grandmother and invite her to tea. However, we are as much part of God’s Creation as a rock or a stone or a piece of algae or a plant or a duck. Whatever He has created He has created on purpose.


What separates out human beings in Creation are our ability to know, our ability to reason, our ability to shape Creation around us, and our ability to go against God’s will. When Our Lord tells us that we are “better” than the fowls of the air, He is speaking of our ability to shape and use God’s Creation according to our own free will. We have been created for God’s good pleasure, to enjoy and look after the world around us.

Our Lord is not criticising us for having barns and for reaping and sowing, He is criticising the fact that we worry about the future believing that we alone have the power to control it. He criticises us for living for the Creation when we should be living for the Creator. We forget that we are part of Creation.

We seek to exempt ourselves from how Creation works by thinking ourselves the only ones who deserve to exist because of our ability to shape the world around us. Yet, “we plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand”. God sustains us all. Unless we learn to trust God as well as work hard, we will eventually lose sight of God and our own purpose in Creation.

We come to our harvest festival in a spirit of thanksgiving. We remember that we rely on God to provide for us, but we also remember our duty to the world around us, the duty to feed others, take care of others and allow others to grow.

As Christians, it is our job to sow the seeds of love into the world and water them. It is also our job to enjoy what God provides for us. We should not feel guilty for what we have; we do, however, need to make sure that others (animals included) have the opportunity to enjoy Creation too.

No comments: