The affirmation that the whole world, the earth and all its creatures, the sky and clouds, stars and planets were all made by God, can be found at the centre of most religious systems. The Hebrew scriptures begin with two independent stories of creation, and these stories were embraced, along with the rest of the Hebrew scriptures, by the Christian Church.
Affirming that “God is one” is perhaps the starting point for belief in God as creator. It is not possible to consider
creation apart from God, and for many people the reality of the world with its intricacy and its wonders is proof enough of the existence of God. The stories of the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament speak of the God who continues to be involved with God’s creatures, and in particular with us human beings.
The incarnation is the story of how God came among us as a human person, Jesus, called the Christ. This is the story of the embracing of creation by God. The God we worship is not some distant deity, but one who continues to experience the earth in both its wonder and beauty, and its harshness and brutality.
The creation stories were for a long time interpreted as giving us humans a being given permission to dominate and exploit the world, its resources and its creatures (Genesis 1:28) Today we are more likely to put the emphasis on being custodians, or caretakers, of creation, and realising our responsibility for all God’s creatures, as well as for our children. (In this, we have much to learn from our indigenous sisters and brothers who cared for their land for many thousands of years). Jesus’ call to love implies looking after our world so that our neighbours, including future generations, might benefit.
The Uniting Church’s Basis of Union, drawing upon scriptural images, affirms that “we are a pilgrim people, always on our way towards a promised goal.” Our goal is God’s kingdom, the place of our pilgrimage is planet earth. It is here that we encounter joys and disappointments, despair and hope, cruelty and kindness, selfishness and generosity. As Christians we are called to oppose evil and injustice, and work towards a future shaped by love, and freedom and caring. These are the values of God’s kingdom, and we work towards making them real, here, in the world that God has entrusted to us.
At KUCA Camp Out, for about 24 hours, we become companions on this great pilgrimage. We will take the time to reflect upon our world and the part we each play in it. We will note where our world and its creatures—including its people, are hurting and broken. We will seek opportunities to pray for our hurting world, and to act to make a difference. We will discover that, as part of God’s great family throughout the world we can make a difference to our world, its creatures, and the people with whom our lives intersect.
There will be the opportunity to consider the environment and its needs. We will be challenged to accept our responsibility for our planet and its creatures, and what practical steps we can take to show that we care. Because KCO takes place in the outdoors, it provides excellent opportunities for interacting with the natural world. As a temporary community, we will also be invited to consider how we care for, bless and encourage each other.