|Published by Rev'd Tif Ewins on Sun, 3 May 2020 09:41|
Over the next few weeks in café church, in school assemblies and in our 10am services we are going to reflect on stories from the Old Testament that people from the Jewish and Christian traditions have drawn on to understand the world and their place in it for thousands of years.
We are starting with the story of creation it is beautifully constructed and carefully written. The story is a myth. In theological terms myth is a very precise word. It means it is a traditional story (often about origins) that tells us a profound truth. A myth is a true story in that it tells us truth rather than it is necessarily historically dateable. It can be both, but the heart of its truth always lies in helping us understand our reality.
So, here are some things that we learn about ourselves, God and the world through the creation story:
1. Everything owes its origins to God – nothing in creation, including us, are accidental or pointless
2. The created sphere is God’s not ours, our call is to be part of it and to tend it from within.
3. By emphasising that God made the moon, sun, stars, animals the writer is telling us that they are creatures and not to be feared or worshipped as divine. There is only one God to be worshipped – everything else is creaturely.
4. Belief in God as creator gives us a big picture view of our place in the world and therefore directs how we ought to live our lives.
5. Something of the character and glory of God is revealed in creation. God is both engineer and artist.
But there is something else which is particularly important for us now. We are made in the image of God – what that means seems to have many layers to it – Some of it means that like God, we have capacity to be creative, compassionate, loving. So the creation narrative points us to the fact that acting in any or all of these ways will make us feel good because, they will put us in touch with our creator. Acting in God’s image brings us joy.
Secondly, it is not good for man to be alone. God is in community in the Trinity. That is how creation comes about. Not because God is lonely or bored but because love pours out of God Father, Son and Holy Spirit and creation is the overflow. When God creates human beings, it is having more than one of them (Adam and Eve) that shows we are made in God’s image. Something about them together, their unity and diversity speaks of the nature of God.
So in lockdown we who are in families can be especially grateful because alone-ness claws at our humanity. We know our elderly and all who are alone and profoundly cut off are suffering at an existential level.
But even those of us in families should remember that we are undergoing a deep trauma because, introvert or extrovert, we are made for one another. I was reading about how much dance and choreography is featured in the Old Testament and the psalms and it reminded me of our community ceilidh earlier this year, and a night out dancing to 70’s music with some football friends at the end of last year. All of this dancing happened because of and with other people – they say dance like nobody is looking, but dancing on your own is hard.
In conclusion, a brief look at the creation story that has been with us for millennia reminds us we are most human with others, and so no wonder lockdown hurts. It also tell us that God creates out of love and remains present with us not abandoning us.
For those who know the Biblical account you will know that when Jesus is resurrected on another ‘First Day of the week’ in not Eden, but another garden, the traces of creation are seen afresh. God breathes again into human life through the resurrected Jesus and the church is born. Not a series of buildings and spires, but a society, a family, an ever growing community of love that from the beginning has prayed not ‘my father in heaven’, but ‘Our father’ and who has found her purpose again and again in caring for the poor, the prisoner, the dying, the lonely, the sick and the lost.
Our origin story reminds us that being humans means that you were made for me, that I was made for you, and that we were all made for God.