Covenants and Kingdoms

The following is a reflection by FAN Executive Director, Patrick Carolan on the First Sunday of Advent

This was originally published in our February 26th newsletter.

This Sunday we begin our Lenten journey. Lent is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar. Its literal translation means fortieth. It is the period of time before the Resurrection where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God. It is often thought of as a period to coincide with the forty days Jesus went into the desert and fasted. It is during this time that Jesus faced his three temptations. I find it interesting to reflect on what Jesus was tempted with; money, power and greed. These are the things that, had Jesus succumbed, would have led him away from God. These are the same three things that we are tempted with today. How easy it is for us to fall prey to those temptations. Yet until recently our church rarely focused on these issues but rather focused mostly on sins of the flesh.

In the first reading from Genesis God said to Noah: “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you.” God did not establish a covenant with just humans. The Noaic covenant is with all living creatures all of God’s creation. Several times in this reading God reiterates this covenant with all creatures not just man. I often think this is one of those stories that we tend to gloss over. We focus on the rainbow and forget the wondrous beauty of a covenant with all living creatures. Why would God feel it necessary to include all living creatures in this Covenant? As St. Hildegard of Bingen the awesome 12th century mystic taught us; every creature has a spirituality. And as St Francis of Assisi believed, all of God’s creation are his brother and sister and we are connected through God. Think about how profound that is. It is not just about you and God, but you, God and all creation. It should give us pause for reflection the next time we consider destroying the environment through fraking or building a pipeline or digging up coal and oil, or when we think nothing about polluting the water and air. We are breaking the Covenant that God set down in the very first part of the first book of our sacred scriptures.

In the Gospel reading from Mark we are told the “kingdom of God is at hand.” What kind of kingdom are we building? Is it a kingdom where we live in separation? A kingdom where we feel righteous while we destroy God’s creatures, where we think it is okay for some to starve while others waste? Are we building a kingdom where we feel that it is just about me and God? As we begin our Lenten journey let us take time to reflect on how we can truly live out the covenant God made with us and all living creatures and build a kingdom of interconnectedness. A kingdom where we are all brothers and sisters and connected through God and each other.

Peace and All Good,
Patrick Carolan
FAN Executive Director

Published in: on February 17, 2015 at 10:16 am  Leave a Comment  

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