The New Testament reading today is from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
I only want to say a few words about it and what it says about our posture towards God and by extension what it says about our posture towards God’s creation.
I was down at Culburra a few weeks ago at the old holiday house. The gardens and the bush were looking wild and uncared for. Dad, whose mobility is not great, asked me to head down the embankment and see whether the Wollemi pine, he and Thea’s mother, had planted years ago was still alive.
At first, I could find it but as I moved bracken and dead branches, I came across the five foot ‘age of the dinosaurs’ pine.
Once what was lost is now found.
But ‘lost’ can mean more than unfound or missing, ‘lostness’ can also mean ‘disconnected’.
We all suffer that sort of ‘lostness ‘at some stage in our lives.
Paul is writing to a disconnected people – divided by jealousies, quarrelling and human inclinations – they have become disconnected from God as well as from each other.
Paul then reminds them and us that we are in partnership with each other and with God. It is not about going off and doing your own thing – or doing your own thing and then expected God to turn up and fix the mess.
This is also the same deal when we are stewarding God’s creation – we do it with God and with all the elements of creation.
Too often, we get the posture wrong. Instead of ‘working with’ God and his desires and plans – we work from another of four possible postures.
The first for many today is one where we are ‘over’ God – we don’t believe in a power other than ourselves. Our individuality is the thing that is important – Little can be achieved when we work over and away from God.
The second posture is that of working below God – working for God because we fear his wrath – that is not the nature of the love of God – described a few chapters later by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 – fear as a motivating factor will only work for a time and ultimately again is an individual attitude [not one of the common cause].
The third posture is that of working ‘for God – doing something as a servant without a benefit occurring to both God and person. This is a one sided relationship which like most one-sided ones, are doomed to fail.
The fourth posture is that of working ‘from’ God – that is, ‘God my cosmic ATM will give me what I want it I simply ask’ – that’s not a partnership and it’s not the answer to the call to be pro-active in stewarding God’s creation.
Over, under, for and from will never be as effective as we work with God – because they are all, to some degree, about disconnection.
Praying, discerning God’s word in the scriptures, gathering together to find common purpose and pathways is about reconnecting – ‘laudato si’ – written by the Pope recognised this – just as the Uniting Earth group – just as Paul does. What about you?