Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Preparing for Sunday--God Maker of Heaven and Earth

This week, our worship will focus on praising God who is the maker of both heaven and earth! Or to borrow from another creed (United Church of Canada) that really resonates with me: “We believe in God who has created, is creating and has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new.” Here are the scriptures we will focus on this week:
In the beginning when God created . . . God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
Genesis 1:1a, 31-2:3
O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8

Stephen Hawking once said, “Even if there is only one possible unified theory [of creation], it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?”

The psalmist and the writer of our passage in Genesis are not concerned with answering the question of how heaven and earth were created but with the bigger question, “Why?” To say we believe in God maker of heaven and earth is to say that we have some idea of why the universe goes to all the “bother of existing.” Furthermore, it tells us something about why humans exist and for what purpose. And perhaps the greatest insight comes from reflecting on the character of this God who creates.

• Hawking asks why the universe bothers to exist. Christians might ask why God bothered to create the universe. Why did God go to all that bother?
o What does God’s desire to create something say about God?
o What does God’s desire to create humanity say about God?
o If you did not have access to a Bible, what could you learn about God from looking at creation? Is there anything you would assume about God from looking at creation that you find not to be true of the God revealed in the Bible or in Jesus Christ?
• If God is the author—creator—or all we can see and in the words of the Nicene creed—of all things visible and invisible, what does that say to us about our relationship with God’s creation?
o What does it mean to say that humankind has “dominion” over God’s creation?
o What does that mean in our daily lives?
• The Old Testament indicates that the Sabbath was not established as a day to go to church but as a day of rest in remembrance of God’s creation. Laying aside debates on when the Sabbath should be observed, what does this say to us about the need and practice of Sabbath keeping?

Just a few of the things I’m pondering this Wednesday morning.

Image "The Hand of God" by Rodin

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