Proclaim the Good News to the whole Creation:
Mark 14:15 — Jesus said to the eleven, “Go into the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”
There is a debate among biblical scholars about this particular verse. It seems to have been added to the original Mark document at an early time in church history. The important aspect is that this verse was added to the Great Commission that Jesus gives his disciples after his Resurrection. The early church realized that the birth, life, teachings, passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus was a cosmic event that affected all of creation. With these words, Jesus is sending his disciples out to proclaim the good news to all of Creation because all of Creation is being restored and made new due to his loving sacrifice and Resurrection.
Notice this Great Commission has two parts. The first part is “go into the world” of people wherever people dwell. The second part is to “proclaim the good news to the whole creation” which brings to mind the famous paintings of the” Peaceable Kingdom” described in the Hebrew book of Isaiah 11:6-9, which we often seen portrayed on Christmas cards. The one you see projected is from the Juneau, Alaska artist Rie Munoz and is a favorite of mine.
There will be a new heaven and a new Earth and the mark of this new Earth is described in the Peaceable Kingdom passages showing us a healed relationship between all created beings. Animals that were once predator and prey now live together in peace. The animals that were often aggressive towards humankind will no longer threaten or harm us. God’s redemption, extends to all of creation. Each creature lovingly created by God will be part of the new earth promised in the Bible.
Stories of St. Francis preaching to wolves and other animals and St. Anthony preaching to fishes demonstrate one way of “preaching to Creation” and speaks of the human-animal communion sought in the “Peaceable Kingdom”.
Christians are called to help bring about this Peaceable Kingdom by taking our role as caretakers of the Earth to heart by working with nature and others to protect the creatures with which we share this wonderful blue-green planet. In so doing, we are part of God’s continual Resurrection effort to bring about the new earth here and now.
I close with a prayer from the Green Bible Devotional. (p.124)
Redeeming God, we wait for the day when all of Creation is healed and made new. Make us agents of change as we seek your kingdom and the redemption that is waiting for us all. Amen.