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This week's author is the Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree, Conference Minister of the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
What a season to celebrate God's prodigious and generous gift of the earth and of life itself! I invite you to read Psalm 8 aloud:
O God, our Sovereign, how majestic
is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and
infants you have founded a bulwark
because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the
work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are
mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little
lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over
the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts
of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of
the sea, whatever passes along the
paths of the seas.
O God, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
This past weekend was definitively a Psalm 8 weekend for me and for many of us.
On Friday and Saturday, we celebrated the all-too-short life of Christopher Koenig, son of Rev. Sandy and Susan Koenig of Plantsville. A young man of impish nature, creative gifts and a fine mind, Chris died in an accident while hiking Mt. Higby in Meriden-Middlefield. Psalm 8 assures us that each of us is cherished, endowed with glory and honor. Saturday's service made that so clear! As the Plantsville church sang Chris into eternal life with glorious music, I was deeply moved by both the loss of Chris and the ability of the Koenig family and the church to root themselves in the power of the faith for such a moment.
Then as the rest of the weekend developed, we were treated to quintessential New England spring days. The beauty of this season is unsurpassed, with fresh green, blooming iris, daisies popping out, and butterflies appearing. I needed time for contemplation and making sense of the world, so I spent both days digging in my gardens. I know it's not the same for everyone, but for me, hard physical labor, especially in the soil, is refreshing. The dirtier I get, the deeper I go spiritually. Must come from being granddaughter of hardscrabble Yankee farmers. The psalmist tells us that we mortals have been given dominion over the works of God's hands, that all things are under our feet. Yet we have turned that dominion into domination and we have used those feet to stomp rather than to tread lightly.
What if we all understood that indeed all things are under our feet? That we are responsible for the well-being of all that surrounds us? The newspaper today carries a story that suggests that altruism is hard-wired into the human brain; that it is as basic a need as eating. So what is it in human life that so distorts so many by adulthood that altruism becomes the exception rather than the rule? Sin, my friends. Sin. When we become focused on ourselves and our own wants rather than others' needs, we are distortions of the human being God created. When we use scripture to justify abuse of power over other humans or other creatures and the land itself, we are sinful. But we are called to joy! Called to live lightly on this earth and to comprehend our stewardship of it! Called to revel in its beauty and explore its gifts -- just as Chris was doing when he fell; just as you and I do as we garden or simply sit and take it all in. Indulge yourself in a quiet and gentle stewardship this season, and relish God's majestic name in all the earth!
O Holy One, You who give rise to all of life and bring out the goodness in all of us, we give You thanks for the way we have been made and for our relatedness to all of creation. We sing Your praises and seek Your guidance that we may be faithful in all our stewardship -- of the earth, of relationships, of the faith you have given us, and of the resources at our disposal. In the name of Christ, Amen.
As the UCC's 50th Anniversary -- and Connecticut's first -- General Synod approaches, let us keep in prayer some of those who are preparing for that event:
Pray for the General Synod on June 22 -- 26, and that all the expected 7,000 delegates and visitors will receive an extravagant welcome and hospitality from the volunteers, the churches, the City of Hartford and the State.
P The Rev. John L. Selders Jr.
Asylum Hill Cong'l Ch
P The Rev. Gary L. Miller
PE The Rev. James L. Kidd
AP The Rev. Erica Ann Thompson
AP The Rev. Peter B. Grandy (860) 233-0255
CE Ms. Kathleen Graham (860) 233-6563
Broadview Community Church
P The Rev. Karen Jodice
CE Ms. Carol Staron
MM Pat Hopkins
Liberty Christian Center International
P The Rev. Keith A. Bolton
Faith Cong'l Ch
AP The Rev. Michael Williams
First Church of Christ in Hartford
PE The Rev. J. Alan McLean
The Spirit Calendar: May 29, 2007 by Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree, Conference Minister