Pentecost 8B, 2000
Genesis 1: (Selected verses)
CHILDREN: THE GENESIS OF HOPE
A woman living in the slum area of a large city
was asked by a news reporter what hope she has, living as she must.
She points to her children: “They are my hope”, she says.
Today at (NN) we celebrate Education Sunday.
Already we have heard several stories of their own experiences...
from a student,
a former head master
and an assistant principal.
And I am sure many of you saw the recent feature on “Education 2001”
published in the Canberra Times.
Education is important: be it for adults or children.
So this morning I want to add to those comments already made
by offering a few suggestions I have discovered as a parent,
and learned from others.
For there is also much we could learn from a closer observation of children.
A child explores the world with true wonder
long before she understands what the adults mean by ‘holy’.
A child does not need to be told in solemn tones:
“only God can make a tree”
before discovering the God-given thrill of climbing it,
feeling its rough bark against his hands and face,
sensing the joy of a new experience.
Out of such experiences in the life of a child
comes a quickened sense of self-worth,
which has important ramifications
for all relationships with other persons.
Perhaps this is why Jesus was also so affirming of children.
So in the spirit of this celebration this morning
I want to invite you to come on a journey of re-imagination.
We have heard from the story of creation (Genesis Chapter 1)...
(NN) shared this morning as our reading from the Hebrew scriptures.
Remembering that story, let us now re-imagine it
not as a mythical story of the creation of the world,
but as a mythical story of the creation of children.
In the beginning...
At the start of every life, an environment must be created favourable to life.
Otherwise a child’s surroundings would have no form or shape
and would be empty and unoccupied.
• So we who know, must move over the face of such a world
to prepare it for a living child.
And God said: ‘Let there be light...’
All through their life, children will be faced with
a mixture of light and darkness.
The child comes from the darkness of the mother’s body into the world
where the light hurts her eyes.
But light is good for the baby
and all children must have lots of it all their life.
• We must see to it that the lights are turned on
so the child’s life will not be lived in the shadows of a darkened world.
And God said: ‘Let their be a dome...’
A child must have support when born,
just as the planets must be supported in the heavens.
And even though a child’s prenatal experience
in the mother is a water event,
the actual birth sets the child upon the solid earth.
• This earth, its water and its atmosphere
will be the child’s home as long as the child lives.
And it is here, on earth, that the child must learn to live
just as other forms of life
live on the earth and in the sea.
And God said: ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation...’
It is important a child be provided with a total environment
favourable to healthy development.
This means green grass, plants, trees,
and all kinds of fruit, for healthy nourishment.
A child’s life cannot mature properly
where the world of rivers, lakes and bush lands
have been changed into
asphalt and brick,
polluted streams and
• A total environment must be given every child
with nature’s surroundings at their finest and best.
And God said: ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures...
Ever child needs to know animals,
what their kind is, and put a name on each,
as though each were a person.
And the child will have a ‘reverence for life’ - life of all kinds
for this is a part of the world of nature
and part of their own nature.
• We will need to relearn so we can teach
that the reverence for life makes no distinction
between more precious and less precious lives.
And God said: ‘Let us make humankind in our image...
A person is not ‘made’ all at once but is ‘grown’ from a baby.
Each child is born with a godlike potential
which can only become known
as the child develops talents and abilities.
And while this earth and everything in it is the child’s domain,
each child must see to it that
the balance of nature is maintained;
food is provided for all earth’s people,
and life be made better for all living creatures.
• We must see to it that all children are given this birthright and this heritage -
to be able to live life fully, and
to develop their capabilities to the fullest,
ever mindful of the responsibilities,
since we all walk this earth - its future in our hands.
Let us count it a privilege to walk
with our children
our nieces and nephews.
Let us offer to shape their beliefs.
But always allow our beliefs to be reshaped by them.
For the wise among us call that wisdom.