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All God’s Creation Is Very Good. Women's World Day Of Prayer.

Introduction from the Order of Service written by the women of Suriname who wrote this years service for the Women's Day of Prayer

Elizabeth Smyth gave this sermon today, March 2, in Wigan, Great Britain. There was a good turn out for the service held in a very old, very beautiful, very cold Catholic Church. They came to the World Day of Prayer service despite the snow and very cold temperatures created by Storm Emma.

Elizabeth reports: Yesterday I had a phone call from the Day of Prayer organiser (a lady well into her '90's) to say that the only thing that will prevent them from going ahead would be a HEAVY snow fall. Most of those who attend are quite elderly ladies so could be excused for wanting to stay warm at home but they're having none of it!! We're made of tough stuff us Northerners!! I do hope the church has heating though. Lots of our church buildings are 100's of years old. They're beautiful, inside and out but so very cold over the winter months. We end up wearing so many layers of clothing that we all look at least 2 stone heavier and are almost unable to move. We share the peace with a wink and a smile!! 

All God’s Creation Is Very Good

Our reading from Genesis today, chosen for this occasion by the women of Suriname takes us right back to the very beginning of the Bible - to the very beginning of the world itself

To a time
free of problems
free of war and famine and drought
free of technology and computers and mobile phones
free of stress and chaos
free of pollution and all that that entails

A beautiful world - a world full of promise where God
hung the sun in the morning sky
and the moon in the inky expanse that follows
where He scattered the twinkling stars to dance in the night sky
where He separated the waters of heaven from the waters of the earth
and He shaped the dry land, scattering seeds for plants and trees and stocked the seas with swarms of fish of every description
then filled the skies with birds to swoop and glide as if by magic
And God looked on all that He had created and said YES it’s ALL good so VERY GOOD

Paradise indeed

How many of us would like to go back to a time like that - where everything around us looks and feels so VERY GOOD

But hang on a minute - if we went back to a time like that would we need to return to wearing those fig leaves too

We’re Northerners - I’m not sure we can do that, we can’t go about in fig leaves, just look at the weather, we need our warm layers, we need our woolly jumpers and scarves and hats and our big coats - NO sorry I really don’t think fig leaves would go down very well at all

But what an amazing time that must have been when God created everything then breathed life into it and saw that all He created was VERY GOOD

How many of you like to create things
how many of us like to
what about bakers
candlestick makers
Oh that's a shame - I was hoping to learn a new skill today

I like to create things - I make all sorts of things - I especially like to create something new from something old - to give it a new purpose in life - I think of it as doing my bit for recycling

I think though, that recycling things is a dying art

It seems much easier these days to just pop down to the shops and buy new
Throw out the old and buy in something new

Does that sound about right to you

Sadly though, that mindset is taking its toll on our world
Not just here in our local town - in Wigan - but right the way around the world

Even our sisters in Suriname, in their beautiful part of the world, so very far away are feeling the effects of pollution, contamination, destruction and negligence just as we do here in the North West of England

And I’m sure that every group who will meet together today for this World Day of Prayer in whatever town and country they are in, they too can see and speak of the same problems in their communities - we all live with the effects of that same pollution and contamination, destruction and negligence

Is it too late now do you think to do something about it all, Is there any going back
Is that picture of paradise just something we can only read about
A mental picture of how beautiful things used to be

NO - personally, I don’t think it is too late, there is so much for us to do

God had a plan. He didn’t finish and rest when he’d created
the earth and the sky
and day and night
and plants, trees
and fish and birds.

He didn’t look at all He had created and say I’m happy now, this is all VERY GOOD

He didn’t take His well deserved day of rest when He’d achieved all that NO - for on the 6th day he did something else, something different

The Holy hands of God reached out and gathered dust from the ground and with sacred fingers He formed man and woman and then as He held His new creation as He looked upon the lifeless form He breathed the breath of life into them and they became living beings
He put His plan into action

He created man and woman but no ordinary man or woman for He created them in His own image with His own breath and He gave them dominion - He gave them
and care
and stewardship over every living thing

And God looked again at ALL He had created and said once more

He created man and woman US to care for, to look after ALL He had made

It’s just as important now - MORE important now that we who are created in God’s own image do something before it’s too late

Before our beautiful world crumbles and decays around us even further

It’s up to us to look around today at ALL that God created and find ways of caring for it and protecting it, of breathing new life into what we see around us. Doing whatever we can to prevent ourselves from adding to the problem, it’s up to us to seek ways of at least encouraging recycling in our homes and certainly in our churches

A few minutes ago I asked How many of us like to make things - I’d like to finish with a similar question

How many of us WOULD LIKE to make something - how about we

Make a difference that starts right here and now
A difference that will make an impact on our world, this amazing beautiful world that God created for us

How about today, when we leave this Holy Place
We leave with a promise in our hearts to
to create a better place - like it once was

How about we follow in our Fathers footsteps and we do our bit to create a better place for generations to come

For those of us who consider ourselves to be creative, let’s use those creative streaks to MAKE A DIFFERENCE

For those of us who would hold up our hands and say OH I can’t make a thing
YES YOU CAN - together we


Together we can all play an active part in the plan that God had for us and His creation

We CAN make a difference

Genesis is not a story of how God made the world and everything in it out of nothing
He took something that was already there
He took something that was empty and dark, that was formless and He made it into the most amazing beautiful world teeming with colour and life

And today we should be reminded that our God created us in His image to enjoy the world about us

To care for it and nurture it and protect it

So today, right now here in this place as we come together on this day of prayer could I ask that we don’t just meet together in prayer

Instead lets do what we can to be an answer to prayer

When we leave this place lets make a positive effort to look at the part we play in pollution, contamination, destruction and negligence of our world and make a vow together to change and make a difference to create a difference in
our lives
our homes
our churches
and in our world

So that we too can look around us and say