Creation Time, Fauna Sunday
Theme: Fauna Sunday, by Keith Innes
Job 39:1-8, 26-30
In this passage God challenges Job as to his knowledge of wild creatures: the mountain goats (1-4), the wild donkey (5-8) and the birds of prey (26-28). The context of the last section is human war, which is described from the viewpoint of the warhorse (19-25) and, here, the bird of prey – a reminder that the human account of wars does not tell the whole story. No doubt all the behaviours described have by now been minutely described and explained. Such analytical understanding can nevertheless fail to grasp holistically the place of each element of the creature in relation to the whole creature’s being and its interrelation with others and with the total environment. This kind of understanding is attained by attentive, detailed observation in which the observer and the observed relate to each other. Such knowledge is shown in the best of nature writing exemplified, for example, in America by the works of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862); in the United Kingdom by those of W.H. Hudson (1841-1922) and more recently J.A. Baker . True wisdom is fulfilled when such knowledge leads to the recognition of God’s wisdom as the creative, binding force upholding all creation.
God provides for all sentient creatures ‘water…, food…, habitat…, and time’, in a ‘divine ecology’ with which humans interfere at their peril. Conspicuous in this psalm is the view of humanity as one creature among many sustained by the providence of God. In this respect it balances passages such as Psalm 8 which highlight the special powers and responsibilities entrusted to human beings within creation.
1 Corinthians 1:10-23
At its very roots God’s wisdom contradicts human wisdom. God’s wisdom is embodied in Christ crucified – God’s self-giving to the uttermost. Human wisdom places the human self at the centre of the universe. It leads to divisions, quarrels and factions (10-17). It is opposed to the Cross of Christ which brings true wisdom and power, not through domination but through love expressed in apparent weakness and defeat. The wisdom of God, thus given to the world, demands to be worked out in relation both to other people and to the whole earth community.
The ‘therefore’ of verse 22 links these words with the parable of the rich fool which precedes them (16-21). That in turn follows the appeal to Jesus to adjudicate in the division of an inheritance, and the warning of Jesus against greed and materialism (13-15). Positively the teaching of our passage leads us to recognise that God has placed us in a basically friendly world where the needs of all creatures are supplied by the Creator. It does not deny the importance of using our God-given intelligence to make sensible provision for our needs and those of our families, nor of the duty to resist injustice. Rather living by faith in God’s fatherly provision gives us a secure inward tranquillity and confidence from which to conduct our lives. By God’s grace alone we can centre our endeavours on the Kingdom of God (31).