Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace.
If you found yourself getting lost in today’s reading its ok. A whole chapter of the bible is a lot to take in. Much like creation itself, right. How does one take it all in or even begin to understand how it all works and all the things that are in creation.
I listen to Jim Gilbert, the host of Nature Notes on WCCO radio on my way to church Sunday mornings. It is part of my morning devotion. Jim shared today that there are 5000 species of mushrooms in Minnesota and as I’ve been watching the beautiful Painted Lady butterflies dancing around the flowers in our yard Jim said there are 172 species of butterflies in Minnesota as well. Amazing isn’t it.
We see the beauty of leaves changing color and the bounty of fall produce filling the stores while at the same time we try and imagine what it has been like in Texas and now in Florida as creation feels out of control and so violent as we see the effects of Harvey and Irma as well as the earthquake in Mexico.
These events are reminders to me that the chaos of creation continues in spite of our efforts to control it.
The bible starts with chaos – God has the power to create out of chaos. In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
How strong was the wind of God? Was it category five strength?
Out of this wind, God’s voice speaks creation into existence.
Out of this wind God’s voice begins to bring order out of the chaos.
We could spend hours digesting this chapter of scripture verse by verse.
As we step back and take a bigger picture look we notice that day one, day two and day three are the days that God brings order to creation, God creates light and darkness, day and night and says it is good.
God sets the boundaries of the sky and it was good.
God separates the waters from the dry land and it was good.
It isn’t until these boundaries are set in place that God really gets going with the creative task.
I find this process to be interesting and I wonder how it applies to our lives right now. If God has to set boundaries in order to create something out of chaos, then what does that mean for you and me if we believe that God’s creative process continues today in our lives and in our world?
The architect sets the boundaries of the house as the blueprints are drawn in order for the builder to create the building.
The artist sets the boundaries of the pieces she is about to paint before she begins to apply the brushstrokes of color to the canvas.
The husband and wife need to set the boundaries of their love and commitment to each other before they say I do and begin to create a marriage.
Parents are setting boundaries for their children from the day they are born in order for the creative process of raising that child to begin and flourish.
In every one of these examples there is going to be chaos but the boundaries are what enable the creative process to continue and to flourish and to give life. Creation always point to life and promises life.
This is why God says it is good.
It is good is not a statement but a promise. A promise that God’s on-going activity in this world, happening right now in our lives and all around us is always good.
The goodness God promises in creation fills us with hope. It helps us to see God at work in our lives and in the world.
On day three God begins to fill in the boundaries God has set.
Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so.
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.”
21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. And it was good.
From chaos to creation, the pattern is repeated over and over again, billions of times and we are told by the biblical writers that it is good. It is always good.
Creation comes out of chaos. This is God’s promise and God’s process.
Stop and think about that in terms of your own life and what is going in your own life right now. Can you identify the chaos? Can you name it?
Do you know what it is and do you know why there is chaos in your life?
The chaos we feel will be different for each person in this sanctuary. Some of it comes out the choices we make, the things we do or even the things we no longer do.
Some of the chaos just is – it is there because the world we live in is different from the world we hear about in Genesis one before sin enters the human story.
But from the beginning, when God’s wind, God’s breathe began to move over the water, creation always come out of chaos and what is so evident in this beautifully poetic story in Genesis one, is how intimately connected everything God creates is to one another.
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Wow, it is all there.
We are created in God’s image and out of the chaos comes creation, you and me in God’s image and it is very good.
Do you see and feel and trust in that goodness God promises to you and me?
Can you imagine what it is you want to keep on creating in your life and in your family and in your faith in this God that has stamped you with His image?
What choices can you make and what choices do you need to make to move from chaos to creation to rest in your life?
In this season of beginnings, what new beginning would you like to create as a child of God’s good creation? And where does rest factor into what you might do?
God rests on the seventh day. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
There is an order to what God does; from chaos to creation to rest. When God rests on the seventh day, God isn’t checked out, God is simply modeling for us what we need to do as well.
If rest is blessed and hallowed it must be important for us.
If God does it shouldn’t we do it? And if we don’t rest, if there is no Sabbath time, it we neglect the created relationship we have with God and all of creation, then the chaos will continue to dominate our lives.
It makes me wonder if rest isn’t the key ingredient here. Rest keeps the chaos in check.
Rest allows us to see more clearly how God would have us live in this world.
Rest gives us time to see that which is most important in our lives; our relationships, the love we have been given and are privileged to share.
Rest creates the space and the energy we need to be engaged in the creative process of each day.
In the beginning, God created out of chaos and that process continues. God’s gift is that you and I share in this creation and in this process. Our lives and our world moving from chaos, to creation to rest. And God saw it all and God said, it is very good. Thanks be to God. Amen