We begin our series focusing on the Season of Creation written and compiled by Michelle COok
How do you think of forests? In your imagination are they places of peace and quiet? Are they places that scare you? Are you more at home in a eucalypt forest than in a mangrove forest? Sometimes forests can be places of fear. Think of all the old stories from Europe, the folk tales some of us may have grown up hearing. Stories like Hansel and Gretel, where children get lost in the forest. Stories like Snow White, where the beautiful young girl gets taken to the forest by the hunter so that he may kill her far away from witnesses. Forests in these stories are seen as places of secrecy, of unknown dangers and mysterious powers.
In Psalm 139 it is our bodies being knit together in our mother’s wombs that becomes known. God, the creator of everything, knows our bodies, and hear the Psalmist says to us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Even the workings of the womb, hidden from us, and felt by mothers, are known by God. The story of creation is retold in Genesis 2:4b-22. Adam is created from earth and is set in a garden – a forest of fruit trees – a garden of food. Here is a forest, where again, all is known. The chaos and desperation of the land, where nothing is yet growing, is contrasted with the richness and safety of the garden.
In Acts 17:22-28, Paul shows us that even in an alien place, a place unknown to us, we can still see God. And, lastly, we have the Gospel reading. In John 3:1-17, Nicodemus is a man in confusion. He is not sure who Jesus is. He is unsure of his own mind, for he comes to Jesus at night, seemingly afraid of coming to him in the light. He says that Jesus is from God but is wary of demonstrating this belief to others. Then Jesus confuses him even more. Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be born again. Nicodemus is thinking of being born again of his mother. Jesus reminds Nicodemus of the creating power of God’s Spirit blowing where it will, creating and re-creating so that all may be brought to new life.