St. John’s Episcopal Church
207 Albany Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401


  • God’s Creation Isn’t Just One Thing – The Rev. Michelle Meech

    June 04, 2023

    Creation is not just one thing. God made creation to be like a big, beautiful quilt. With all kinds of lovely, different patterns and colors making up one continuous fabric.

    Actually, God is not just one thing either. God has different patterns and different ways, but it’s all one God. Because we are human, we have trouble imagining all the ways that God has and all the things that God is.

    Lakota Trinity by John Guiliani

    What we know is that God is a creator that we sometimes call Father or Mother. We also know that God is Christ, and Jesus came to us as Christ who redeems us and brings us back to God. And we also know that God is the Holy Spirit who blesses us and helps us on our journey.

    So, God has diversity. God is many things, many persons. But they are all God.

    God made creation to be like this – to be diverse. We say that God made us in God’s image. God made me in this image and God made you in this image. God made every single creature out of Love. And God called it all very good.

    One of the creatures God made, that is different than you and I but is also a beloved part of creation, is a fruit bat. And I’d like to tell you the story of one particular fruit bat named Stellaluna. Perhaps you have heard her story before in a book by Jannell Cannon.

    In a warm and humid forest far, far away, there once lived a mother fruit bat and her new baby. Oh, how Mother Bat loved her soft tiny baby. “I’ll name you Stellaluna,” she crooned. Stella and Luna are two names that mean Star and Moon.

    We remember from our Creation Story that these are the lights of the night. And bats love the night.

    Each night, Mother Bat would carry Stellaluna clutched to her breast as she flew out to search for food. One night, as Mother Bat followed the heavy scent of ripe fruit, an owl spied her. On silent wings, the powerful bird swooped down upon the bats.

    Dodging and shrieking, Mother Bat tried to escape, but the owl struck again, knocking Stellaluna into the air. Her baby wings were as limp and useless as wet paper.

    Down, down she went into the forest below. The dark leafy tangle of branches caught Stellaluna as she fell. One twig was small enough for Stellaluna’s tiny feet. Wrapping her wings about her, she clutched the thin, tiny branch, trembling with cold and fear. She hung on until her feet were too tired, until the dark night sky started to lighten.

    Then she fell again. Until… THUMP. Stellaluna landed headfirst into a soft, downy nest, startling three baby birds, whose mother had already left to search for food in the morning light.

    “What was that?” Cried Flap. Startled, Stellaluna quickly clambered from the nest and hung just below on a thin branch. “I don’t know,” chirped Flitter, as he peered over the edge of the nest, “But it’s hanging by its feet.” “Shhhh! Here comes Mama,” hissed Pip.

    Many, many times that day, Mama Bird flew away always returning with food for her babies. Stellaluna was terribly hungry but the bugs that Mama Bird brought back were not very appealing to her. Finally, though, the little bat could bear it no longer. She climbed into the nest, closed her eyes, and opened her mouth. PLOP! In dropped a big, green grasshopper.

    And so Stellaluna became part of the family. She learned to be like the little birds, staying awake all day and sleeping all night. She ate bugs, even though they tasted awful. But the one thing she could not seem to get used to, was sleeping in the nest right-side-up. So, when Mama Bird was away, Stellaluna would climb out of the next and hang by her feet.

    One day, when Mama Bird was away, the curious baby birds decided to try it too. And when she came back home, all she saw were the eight tiny feet gripping the edge of the nest. “EEEEK!” She cried. “Get back up here this instant. You’re going to fall and break your necks!” The birds climbed back into the nest, but Mama Bird stopped Stellaluna before she got in. “Please promise me that you will obey the rules of this house and stop hanging upside down from the edge of the nest.” Stellaluna promised.

    So she ate bugs without making faces. She slept at night in the nest, even though it was uncomfortable to do so. Stellaluna behaved like a good little bird should.

    All the babies grew up quickly and the nest became crowded. One day Mama Bird said, “It’s time to learn how to fly!” One by one, Pip, Flitter, Flap, and Stellaluna jumped from the nest. Their wings worked!

    I’m just like them, thought Stellaluna. I can fly too. Then Pip, Flitter, and Flap all landed one by one gracefully on the branch near their nest. Stellaluna tried to do the same. But she couldn’t quite get it. Her feet did not seem to want to grasp the large branch and she lost her balance and struggled to stand upright.

    I will fly all day, Stellaluna thought to herself. If I don’t try to land, no one will know how clumsy I am.

    The next day, Pip, Flitter, Flap, and Stellaluna went flying far from home. They flew for hours, exercising their new wings. “The sun is setting,” warned Flitter. “We had better go home or we will get lost in the dark,” said Flap. “Where’s Stellaluna?” asked Pip. But Stellaluna had flown far ahead and was nowhere to be seen. The three anxious birds went home without her.

    All alone, Stellaluna flew and flew until her wings ached and she dropped into a tree, grabbing a small branch with her feet and quite naturally hanging upside down. Then she remembered her promise. “Oh, right. I promised not to hang by my feet,” Stellaluna sighed. So she hung by her thumbs instead and fell asleep. She didn’t hear the soft sound of wings coming near.

    “Hey!” a loud voice said, startling her awake. “Why are you hanging upside down?” Stellaluna turned her head, and her eyes opened wide as she found herself looking at a most peculiar face. “I’m not upside down. You are!” Stellaluna said.

    “Ah, but you’re a bat. Bats hang by their feet. You are hanging by your thumbs, so that makes you upside down,” the creature said. “I’m a bat. I’m hanging by my feet. That makes me right-side-up.”

    Stellaluna was confused. “Mama Bird told me that I was upside down and that it was dangerous for me to do that.” “Dangerous for a bird, but not for a bat,” said the bat.

    More bats gathered around to see the strange young bat who behaved like a bird. Stellaluna told them her story. “You ate bugs?” exclaimed one. “You slept at night?” gasped another. “How very strange,” they all murmured.

    “Wait! Wait! Let me look at this child.” A bat pushed through the crowd. “An owl attacked you? She asked. And she sniffed Stellaluna’s fur her eyes widening. “You are Stellaluna! You are my baby!”

    “You escaped the owl?” asked Stellaluna. “Yes,” said Mother Bat as she wrapped her wings around Stellaluna.

    “Come with me, and I’ll show you where to find the most delicious fruit. You’ll never have to eat another bug as long as you live.” “But it’s nighttime,” Stellaluna squeaked. “We can’t fly in the dark, or we will crash into the trees.” “We’re bats,” said Mother Bat. “We can make our way in the darkness just fine. Come with us.

    Stellaluna was nervous, but she let go of the tree and dropped into the deep dark blue sky. She found that she could see in the dark. It wasn’t as bright as the day but she had no trouble finding her way around and she could smell something sweet and delicious.

    Suddenly, the bats all landed in a mango tree, and Stellaluna, hanging upside down, which is right side up for bats, ate as much of the fruit as she could. “I’ll never eat another bug as long as I live!” Cheered Stellaluna. I must tell Pip and Flitter and Flap.

    The next day, Stellaluna went to visit the birds. “Come with me and meet my bat family,” said Stellaluna. “Okay, let’s go!” agreed Pip. “They hang by their feet and they fly at night and they eat the best food in the world,” Stellaluna explained while they were flying.

    As they flew in among the bats, Flap said, “I feel upside down here.” So, the birds hung by their feet. “Wait until dark,” Stellaluna said excitedly. “We will fly at night.”

    When night came, Stellaluna flew away. Pip, Flitter, and Flap leaped from the tree to follow her. “I can’t see a thing!” shrieked Pip. “Neither can I!” howled Flitter. “This is not good!” yelled Flap. “They’re going to crash,” gasped Stellaluna. “I must rescue them!”

    Stellaluna swooped about, grabbing her friends in the air. She lifted them to a tree, and the birds grasped a branch, clinging tightly. Stellaluna hung from a branch above them. “We’re safe,” said Stellaluna.

    Then she sighed. “I wish you could see in the dark too.” “We wish you could land on your feet,” Flitter replied. Pip and Flap nodded.

    They perched in silence for a long time.
    “How can we be so different and feel so much alike?” wondered Flitter.
    “And how can we feel so different and be so much alike?” wondered Pip.
    “I think this is quite a mystery.” Flap chirped in response.
    “I agree,” said Stellaluna. “But we’re friends. And that’s a fact.”


    I wonder… have you ever been like Stellaluna? Have you ever been a little different than your friends?

    I wonder… have you ever been like Flitter, Pip, and Flap? Have you ever been like most of your friends and had a friend who was just a bit different?

    I wonder… what made you alike? And what made you different?

    I wonder… how boring it would be if we were all the same.

    I wonder… how can we do better to make sure that everyone knows that they belong?