Blog # 368
Brown dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs, domestic dogs, wild dogs, big dogs, little dogs, healthy dogs, sick dogs, dogs here, dogs there, wherever you have dogs you have dogs. In spit of the differences one from another, you have something of the same which makes them all dogs.
So it is with people. We come in many shades of color, in a great variety of sizes and shapes, yet there is something consistently the same about us wherever we are. We make different sounds in a variety of languages to signify the came realities, bread, water, hopes, anger, and love. In site of our many differences there is something the same about us all that makes us one, as human creatures.
The critical truth about us that makes us one is the fact we all come into existence through the will of a single creator, the one true God. After this most basic fact about us, the differences are minor. The differences are real, yes, but are less fundamental than what makes us one. We are related on a more fundamental level to the seven billion people on earth today than we are related to
our blood-related brothers and sisters.
What I have just written is the dream, the ideal the map design goal plan, or whatever you might like to say in order to indicate the work and will of the Creator of us all. Yet that dream and ideal is not what we have worked out among us. We remain apart from one another, strangers, competitors, sometimes enemies. This is true of folks who live in nursing homes, palaces,families, villages, cities. As a result of our failure to understand and follow the design of God that calls us to be one, we often stand alone, argue rather than discuss, compete rather than cooperate, make war rather than build peace.
An answer to it all comes each Sunday when we make our proclamation of faith. "We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen". Our God is the God of the sunshine and the rain, the fire and ice, of sounds and shapes, of all that exists. There is nothing that happens by accident with God. Since God is the Creator of all, there is something of God present in all of creation. As an expression of the wisdom and goodness of God, all creation has something of God's wisdom and goodness within it, but in different ways and in different degrees of perfection. Water is hot and fire is hot . The leaves of a tree are green. The flowers are yellow. Both are colorful.
In the story of creation in the Bible, before the creation of humans, God 'saw' that all that had been created was good. All of it followed the Creator's plan. lived out the Creator's design, was the object of the Creator's delight. Then human creatures came on the scene. They were the same as the rest in that they had the one creator, but they were different in their ability to choose or to refuse God's plan for them. They were "made to God's image". They had reflective awareness of themselves, They had freedom. They could day yes or not to God's plan. And they did.
Water continued to freeze at a given temperature all around the world. Fire continued to be hot. But men and women sometimes did what was right and sometimes what was wrong. There was war as well as peace. And it all seemed to depend upon the will of men and women rather than on that of the Creator. He seemed to be watching from a distance rather than from within.
Now put all of this in the present tense and we have ourselves. We are present in the book of Genesis as we are in our daily newspaper. And our Creator is present to us now as in the beautiful garden of Eden to our first parents then. Now as then water freezes, fire burns, the stars shine, the earth moves around the sun, men and women are gifted with the gift of freedom. The Creator seems merely to be watching from a distance, rather than from within.
It almost seems as though God gave us human creatures less rather than more in giving us freedom. The rest of creation follows the creator's plan without fail. For us it is sometimes yes and sometimes no. The rest of creation is never shamed, embarrassed, or guilty because of its behavior. This regularly is the case with us. It is a fallacy to think of the gift of freedom as less than our greatest natural gift, other than God's personal love, of all the natural gifts we have. It is only when it is abused or left unused that it is the occasion of our being ashamed embarrassed or guilty. It is a dividing line between ourselves and the rest of creation. It was what the Creator 'saw' when the first work of creation was done the Creator looked upon it all and said the work of creating human reflections of His wisdom was "very good".
Why would this be so? In Mathew's Gospel (22:34), a lawyer asks Jesus what is the greatest commandment of all. Jesus responds without hesitation it is to love God above and our neighbors as ourselves. We are dealing here with the goal and purpose of all creation. All God did and does is love. That is what creation is about. Fire water earth and air are all expressions of the Creator's love. For them this is done in unfreedom. We are gifted with the ability to make it our own by choice.
Choice is possible for us through the gift of freedom. In freedom we discover God and respond to our discovery. Through freedom we open our hearts to those around us and form a community of hearts. Through freedom we trust the Creator, follow Jesus along the pathways of our lives, and make love appear on earth.
What is wrong and missing from a world not aware of and following the Creantor's plan and command is not that we are of different colors, sizes, shapes and talents, but that we do not love our Creator above all and one another as we love ourselves. All dogs are dogs. All people are called to love.