Tuesday 12 January 2021 Reflection
Pastor Suzanne Trump
1In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the 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. 3Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
This is the first of two stories of creation in the book of Genesis. I am drawn much more to this text for many reasons. To begin there is absolute chaos, the world is a formless void, and from that God creates. Jewish lore reports that out of this deep primordial ocean, which was to the ancient Israelites the epitome of chaos, God masterfully and intentionally creates. Some believe that God spent eons planning everything out and had 974 creation attempts before God was satisfied with creation! God was intentional about creation and was satisfied that it was good.
That is wonderful news for us! Amid all the chaos in the world, God believes we are good. That we were good at creation and that we continue to be good. Amid the chaos we call life, we are good. All of us. Every single one of us.
And that is the hard part, isn’t it? We are all good. The people who stormed the capital, the people that are planning attacks on all fifty capital buildings, those who are planning attacks on our nation’s capital as we have a new president sworn in are good too. I have a very hard time wrapping my hands around that concept as I am sure many of you do too. How can they create chaos and be part of God’s good creation?
I go back again to the first account of creation in Genesis. The priestly writers who likely wrote the first creation story were writing during the days of the Babylonian exile. There was total chaos, the Temple was destroyed, the Israelites had no power, they had no control over their calendar or the god’s that were worshiped by their captors. Perhaps in prison with only a slice of sky visible from the deep and the only sign that the Lord is yet creating order out of chaos according to Richard Boyce and so, this is a story for those days when we despair. Boyce goes on to say:
No, this creation story is a way of holding onto hope when all signs of order in our lives have been destroyed and we must look out for signs of the creative work of God beyond our control. If God is still creating order out of chaos in the succession of night and day, maybe God will one day create order once more out of chaos in the lives of God’s people. Hold on and do not lose hope. (pages 221 and 223)
God is still in control and creating, taking chaos, and making it good. That offers me a hope beyond hope that life will go forward. I pray that gives you hope too. As God’s hands and feet in the world, we too have a role to play. We are called to respect all people as God’s sons and daughters, even if they are creating chaos, even if they look and talk different than us, we are all God’s children. We are all part of the same family. We will not always agree and sometimes we will absolutely disagree. At the end of the day as night falls, we are still children of the same God. The God that creates light out of darkness and declares that all creation is good.
Bartlett, David L. and Taylor, Barbara Brown, general editors. Feasting on the Word, Year B, Volume 1. Louisville, Westminster John Knox Press. 2008.