My neighbours went for a walk on the beach the day after a landfall had eroded some more of the coastline. A large bone had been partially exposed at the base of the cliffs, which they knew to be an important find. It turned out to be the pelvic bone of a large steppe mammoth. More bones were found later. The carcass had been scavenged by spotted hyenas, indicated by their teeth marks. The mammoth is considered to have roamed in this region of Norfolk over 400,000 years ago. When we have physical evidence, it’s fascinating to seek for clues to its history, for scientific understanding, and to imagine how it looked in its time.
However the world was formed, it is evident: we live in it. Our questions arise after our observations. The creation stories in Genesis remind us that from the beginning people believed that God created the world and all of its creatures, that God wanted human beings to look after it and to populate it, and that God thought that it was good.
Although God was observed as spiritual rather than physical reality, people saw it as evident that God is alongside us and that God is good. Since God gave us the gift of Jesus we have been able to observe God through the physical reality of his life too, to gain from the wisdom and understanding of God which he has brought into the world through his teaching and example.
‘Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice?’ says the proverb, ‘the Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago... I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.’
God still delights in us, in you and me. God wants us to delight in each other as we work together to look after the world and all of its creatures. To do so is to serve God. It is a joy. We are aware that many of our practices worldwide are harmful to the Earth and its creatures. It is for all of us to look at our own individual impact as well as to look at corporate practices. The pandemic has given us a pause for thought, an opportunity for new beginnings - to make necessary changes to the way we live our lives.
We in St Peter’s are offering a new course from 22nd February for people of all ages, whether new to faith or who have lapsed from it, who are seeking wisdom and understanding - who would like to begin to think about how God delights in us. Please pray for those who join us as they take first steps into this new world. Amen.
Julie Rubidge, Lay Minister