If you’re a Great British Bake Off fan, you might remember 2018 series winner Rahul. Rahul left a mark on me, not so much because of his amazing baking, but for who and how he was.
After judging, the programme shows little video clips of the bakers reflecting on their successes – or failures, and the comments from the judges.
Rahul, on numerous occasions would be in mid flow talking to camera and then suddenly divert his eyes another way and say ‘Oh look at those beautiful peonies’, or ‘ooo look at that cute puppy’.
At the time I was struck by the way he noticed & was distracted by the beauty of creation. But I was also equally struck by the fact he kept apologising for it. He apologised for noticing the beauty of nature.
nature is part pf creation – part of God’s world – and so we should notice and marvel at its beauty. And we shouldn’t apologise for that! Scripture is plastered with such awe and wonder – and so should we be. For when creation flourishes – so too will humanity flourish.
Take Isaiah 35 for example:
The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
They will enter Zion with singing;Isaiah 35:1-2; 5-6; 10.
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah prophecies that creation will flourish with new growth, and as creation flourishes, so too will humanity – for the all creation together will be overflowing with joy.
It might feel a bit strange to be thinking about creation in the midst of Advent – isn’t advent about Jesus – celebrating his first coming to earth…and anticipating his return?
Well yes – but I say, why did Jesus come?
John 3:16-17, perhaps the most well known New Testament verse says:
6 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through himJohn 3:16-17
Notice that, while humanity is given particular mention – it is to the world that Christ comes, to save the world.
I hate to burst our human-centric bubble… but the world is not humanity alone. Humanity is not the centre of the universe., and that’s a truth that has been passed down for centuries… at the end of Jonah 4 we find God say to Jonah:
And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”Jonah 4:11
In God’s heart – there is room for those like us.
There is room for those not like us.
There is room for those who, like the Ninevites, were unaware of the truth of who God was…
There is Room in God’s heart for all creation.
Christ’s salvation work is not just for humanity – but for all of nature. Such is Christ’s heart and love for all life.
Christ comes to the world, to make a way and room for all.
All humanity, and all creation,
To have hope, to grow and to flourish.
And calls us into partnership with him to share the good news,
To invite people to experience the salvation of God,
To care for creation,
To live and love in hope – throughout the world.
To make room for all the world to know God’s love, hope and salvation. Because when God reigns – there is room for all of nature.