The image above is the final panel in a seven-panel painting depicting the Creation Story. This panel is exactly twice as big as each of the other six panels. The artist says that he did this because he believes that God placed great importance on the act of Sabbath rest. It may seem odd to encounter the Creation Story on Trinity Sunday; normally, we would hear a New Testament text and the preacher would do his best to help us understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity. We usually think of Genesis as a book about God the Father, the creative, energetic force that brings the universe into existence. These verses also give us glimpses of the other two aspects of the Trinity. The Spirit of God broods over the chaos and breaths life; the Light of God shines through the darkness. At the end of it all, even God recognizes that rest is a good thing. As we contemplate the Trinity and our place in relationship with this complex God, may we also realize the resting with God, being still and knowing God, is essential as Creation itself.
“Oy! What a Day I’ve had Today!”
Sunday, June 11th, 2017
“Genesis” is a Greek word for origin or beginning. The Book of Genesis represents a human attempt to explain the incomprehensible – the origin of the created world. Even today, with all our scientific knowledge and certainty, our greatest scholars remain uncertain about the origin of the universe. This is what makes Genesis so compelling for us; it is an epic poem that seeks to help us understand things we can never fully understand – the things of God. This is really the point of all Scripture – to lead us to the best understanding of God that we are capable of achieving.
When you think of epic poetry, you may be familiar with The Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer. These works, and others like them, exhibit characteristics common to epic stories. The scope of the story is huge, possibly the whole known world. Supernatural forces, gods or demons, insert themselves into the action. They are intended to teach a larger lesson based on the conventions of the story. The point of this epic is not to have us imagine how God managed to create the world in six days. Rather, we are invited to imagine a God capable of setting Creation in motion – period. How great must God be to design this, breathe life into it, and shine light from the darkness?
Let us pray…God, help us see beyond the poetry, into the very heart of your creative Spirit. Lead us to a better understanding of who you are and how you are at work in the world. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
The image on the screen is the final panel in a seven-panel painting depicting the Creation Story. This panel is exactly twice as big as each of the other six panels. The artist says that he did this because he believes that God placed great importance on the act of Sabbath rest. Imagine, after all that hard work creating the world in six days, God stops and says: “Oy! What a day I’ve had today!” And then he rested. This story is not a scientific explanation for the universe, and it makes no claim to answer the “how” of Creation. This epic poem is focused on the “who” and the “what” of Creation. Renowned spiritual director Carole Crumley writes: “Darkness, light, and new life are all aspects of our human experience. We are creatures of sunset and sunrise, of the ebb and flow of the tides of life, of darkness and light. Within our life stories and the stories of human history, there are dark sides that do not go away. Human suffering does not go away. Also within our human stories are experiences of new life and fresh possibility brought by the overshadowing spirit, of a creative force bringing order out of chaos, the light of Christ that shines across the ages and beyond the grave.”
Genesis calls us to realize that creation begins with God; “in the beginning, God…” This is God’s story, not ours; the “who” of Creation is God. What, then, is the “why”? Why did God make us? Paul tries to explain this to the men of Athens in Acts 17; he said that God made us so that we might seek God, feeling our way toward God and thereby finding God. This groping for God leads us from darkness into light through the journey of our own experience. Paul goes on to say, “Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’.” (Acts 17:27-28)
Meister Eckhart, a fourteenth-century German mystic, offers an unusual view of the Trinity in Creation. He wrote that God the Father laughed, and the Son was born. Then the two of them laughed, and the Spirit was born. When all three laughed, the human being was born. For Eckhart, the mystery of the Holy Trinity was surrounded by peals of golden laughter at the heart of the universe. [i]
We usually think of Genesis as a book about God the Father, the creative, energetic force that brings the universe into existence. But, these verses also give us glimpses of the other two aspects of the mysterious Trinity. The Spirit of God hovers and broods over the chaos and breathes life; the Light of God shines through the darkness and cannot be overcome by it. Genesis looks into the heart of darkness and sees something beautiful and hopeful: a creative force, a hovering spirit, and a penetrating light that cannot be overcome. At the end of it all, God recognizes that it is all good, and rest is a good and necessary thing.
As we contemplate the Trinity and our place in relationship with this complex God, we should wonder:
- What does your experience tell you about the Trinity?
- How would you describe the indescribable, incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity?
Whenever you feel like crying, “Oy! What a day I’ve had today!”, remember to rest with God, listen for that still small voice that tells you who and why. Realize that being still and knowing God, is as essential as Creation itself. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
[i] Crumley, Carole A. Feasting on the Word, © 2011, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, Y-A, V-3, P-30