Since this is my first blog post EVER, please know I’m a little new at this. Never the less, I am thrilled to be able to welcome you to this blog.
In the last post, Diane did a great job of setting up the purpose and direction of what this blog – and the Narrative Lectionary – is about. In today’s post, we start in that direction and look at our first scripture: Genesis 1. There are three items I’d like to lift up for you as you are looking for your story in God’s story.
First, even more than the beauty of this video, listen to the words of the accompanying poem. For me, it helps me to experience that first creation in a new way. It opens my eyes to not only the darkness and the emptiness from which God began… also the glory and beauty and joy of God’s creating and creation.
Second, while this material/theme didn’t make it into the sermon – consider this “cutting room floor” or “blooper” – it helps us to see the importance of Sabbath and the rest that it supposed to accompany it. Hopefully, this will inspire you to take part in SAPC’s churchwide retreat in October. Sign ups begin on Sunday. 🙂
Genesis 1-2 demonstrates that creative activity refers not simply to what God does.
Creation also has to do with what God specifically does not do (one could speak of divine self-limitation). This divine “not doing” takes place at two levels in this Genesis text (I emphasize the second).
- God is not the only character in this text whose action is creative. When God addresses the earth to “put forth” (1:11), the earth is the subject of the creating verb that follows (1:12; see also the creative capacities of creatures in 1:22). This divine move means that God chooses not to do the creating of the world alone. Indeed, God’s creative action is made explicitly dependent upon the activity of that which is not God.
- God rested on the seventh day (2:1-3). God’s resting, however, did not bring the creative process to a halt. Nothing is said about the creatures resting; the creatures continued to function as the creatures they were created to be, which would include a capacity for creating (see 1:22).
For God to rest means that God will “sit back” and let the creatures function with all the creative capacities they have been given; God rests and the creatures thrive. God’s resting shows that these creatures have powers of their own; God lets them be creatures that are genuinely other than God. Jürgen Moltmann says it well: “God does not create merely by calling something into existence, or by setting something afoot. In a more profound sense he ‘creates’ by letting-be, by making room, and by withdrawing himself”1”
Finally, as you read today’s text in Genesis 1, also look at John 1. What parallels do you notice? What familiar themes and actions do you see? I notice the theme of ongoing creation – God’s creation is not a “one and done” event. Rather, God continues to create and to create good in the midst of this world and our living. I also love that the theme of life that we see in Genesis (how many living plants/creatures/people does give life to?) is carried right into John 1. Not only that, the theme of life is a theme throughout the Gospel of John and Jesus’ ministry. What other themes and words do you see between Genesis and the life and ministry of Jesus?