Not often are the words of our pastor appreciated by Borderlands. But this Sunday they were surprised by the unexpected. The pastor’s text was Genesis 1:26-30. According to the text the produce, ie, the green herbs of the earth were to be shared by every one on earth.
More than usual, the pastor seemed to rely on the King James Version of the Bible which gave the human family dominion over the earth. As I recall the sermon the pastor emphasized that “it is wrong” to believe that the word “dominion” found in the KJV implies the right to exploit the earth.
When some people began to exploit the earth by developing a grain-growing agriculture, they had more than others. So they stored their surplus. The “exploit and store” people soon gained more grain then they needed and at the same time others had scarcely enough to eat. Those who held the surplus decided that it should be guarded, so some of the tribe became warriors. Wars began over the earth’s resources.
In Borderlands, we had hoped that the Pastor agreed with us somewhat, but hearing it stated so plainly in a sermon was not expected. Some of Borderland members are promoting Mennonite Creation Care Network at CMC. Other pastors searching for sermon material may find some on the Creation Care website.
Sunday evening was a special for My Joy and me. We joined Goshen College clientele in a packed Umble Center to hear baritone Anthony Brown from Hesston College tell the life of Paul Robeson: singer, civil rights activist, actor, football player, lawyer and linguist, in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. Listen to Robeson sing Old Man River by clicking here.
For ninety minutes Anthony Brown and his team told Robeson’s story and sang Negro Spirituals. The Old Fool remembered singing “Water Boy, where you hid’en” as a solo to the applause of the students when he was a sophomore at Eastern Mennonite. I suppose no one else remembers that event.
Here you can hear Robeson sing it. The Sunday was filled with thoughts about the Christian response to injustice, to continued exploitation of the poor and of the earth. I’ve tried to communicate my feelings for this Sunday, but I have failed, I fear.