To Rule or To Serve – Humanity Sunday
A dramatic reading presented at the White Plains Presbyterian Church on the Second Sunday in the Season of Creation, Humanity Sunday, September 13, 2015. While it might seem like humanity gets pride of place throughout the rest of the year, Humanity Sunday is about restoring the proper place of humanity in the natural world. Our liturgy sustained and extended this message far beyond this drama. The drama is found on the Season of Creation website.
Reading 1: Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of Earth, and over every creeping things that creeps on Earth. So God created humankind in God’s image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them. God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill Earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon Earth. [Genesis 1:26-28]
Reading 2: Then the Lord God formed a human being from the dust of the ground and breathed into the nostrils the breath of life. And the human being became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the East. Then the Lord God took the human being and put the human being in the garden of Eden to serve and preserve it. Then out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal in the field and every bird of the air and brought them to the human being. [Genesis 2:7-8, 15, 19]
Voice 1: I am the first human being, the voice of the human being in Genesis One. I am Adam and Eve. I am humanity!
Voice 2: I am the first human being, the voice of the human being in Genesis Two. I am Adam and Eve. I am humanity!
Voice 1: God made me in a special way. The word of God in Genesis One says so!
Voice 2: And God made me in a special way. The word of God in Genesis Two says so!
Voice 1: I am created in the image of God. Do you understand? The very image of God!
Voice 2: I have been made personally by God. Do you understand? By God’s own hands!
Voice 1: I am like God, created in God’s own likeness.
Voice 2: I am liked by God. I even live in a garden where God likes to walk and talk!
Voice 1: I have human reason. That makes me superior to all other living creatures! Superior! Get it!
Voice 2: I am flesh taken from Earth itself and formed by the breath that comes from God, just as the other creatures. So I am kin with all other creatures. We are family! Do you understand family?
Voice 1: Family? Fiddlesticks! I have dominion over all creatures. I dominate! I tame! I rule all other creatures.
Voice 2: I have a partnership with all other creatures. We are friends.
Voice 1: I am authorized by God to subdue Earth, to harness nature, to put creation under my feet. Yes, to control your friends!
Voice 1: I can conquer creation. I rule! I rule!
Voice 2: I groan with creation. When you rule, I suffer. I suffer!
Voice 1: I am the king of Earth. I bear the image of God! I am king over creation! I rule!
Voice 2: I am a servant on Earth, caring for creation.
Voice 1: I am king, God said so! God said so!
Voice 2: I am a servant, God said so!
Voice 3: Wait just a minute! Stop your arguing!
Voices 1 & 2: I have God’s word on my side!
Voice 3: Sure you have! But do you have the final word? Do you have Jesus’ word? Do you?
Voice 3: Who is the one who reflects the true image of God on Earth? Come on! Who?
Voice 1& 2: Jesus Christ!
Voice 3: Who is the true servant of God? Come on. Who?
Voice 1& 2: Jesus Christ!
Voice 3: And how does Jesus invite us to live? To rule like the Romans and dominate like their Caesars?! Or to follow the way of the cross and serve as Christ came to serve? Listen to his word from the Gospel for today!
So Jesus called the disciples and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over the, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not to be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Humanity came not to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. [Mark 10:42-45]
Voice 1, 2 & 3: This is the Gospel of our Lord. We are to serve as Christ served. Lord, teach us to serve.
These stories tell us about ourselves – our power and our vocation. we need both of them. Following the scripture presentation, the congregation took time to write about our own power over creation and our practice of preservation. We then sang the hymn, ‘God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens.”