Seven Wonders of the Word
“God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:28
Back in the day People magazine had Princess Di on the cover on a regular basis, and when she died there was wall-to-wall media coverage of that terrible event. I guess there is another royal wedding coming up, at least that is what I have gathered from the racks of magazines at the checkout counter.
The word in our passage today that has me thinking of things royal is the word dominion. It is a word that is loaded with meaning. In the scriptural sense it has less to do with domination, and more to do with the responsibility that comes hand in hand with power.
“It’s good to be the king” was a line from “History of the World, Part I.” It has become a phrase I have heard now and again in culture to excuse, or to rationalize, outrageous behavior. When we were little and played fantasy games where we were kings or queens, princes or princesses we made up the rules as we went along for after all it was “good to be the king.” The reality is that while it may be good to be royalty, it also caries with it a heavy burden. Mel Brooks spoke that line as Louis the XVI and for poor Louis, it wasn’t always good to be the king, especially when his head was the guillotine. What brought Louis to this terrible end was in very large part the way he was king. When you don’t care for your subjects, when you are not a good steward of that which has been given to you, you might find that it gets taken away from you.
The current political scene all over the world is pointing out that in fact it might not be so good to be the king if you haven’t brought your people along with you.
When we look at this concept from the point of view of the Word creating, we find that dominion when exercised it in the caring for and sharing of God’s creation brings blessings to all. The reason that the “peasants are revolting” (another line from HW Pt.1) was that the under the guise of dominion, the blessings of God were being horded and abused by the king.
When blessings are shared we are a part of God’s continuing creative work in the world. When we exercise dominion as a responsibility to the whole creation and in particular with our brothers and sisters around us now and those who follow we find that it is all about creating blessing, and less about us being the boss, being in control, or doing whatever we want. To exercise dominion is to realize where this blessing came from in the first place.
I like how the Message handles this part of Genesis; God blessed them:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
So I have a couple of questions for you today, how does the word responsible change your view on dominion? How does the fact that we are called to be in relationship with all of God’s creation change how we treat the blessings in our life?
May you be blessed this day as the Word continues to create!