Devotion, March 19, 2020
Scripture: Read Genesis 1.1 - 2.4
Christian Believer is sometimes known as Disciple 5. Christian Believer is a look at basic Christian doctrines. It is a study that helps to ruminate about our individual beliefs and why we believe what we believe. This is different from Disciple 1-4. In those courses, participants are asked to be shaped and formed by scripture as they seek to live out their relationships in Christ. Through Christian Believer, participants grow in their understanding of their beliefs and why it matters.
Our Christian doctrine is based on what is known as salvation history. Salvation history is taking a look at the way we understand who God has been, is and will continue to be in our world and our lives. In salvation history, we are introduced to the creation of the world. After the fall from grace and being taken out of the garden of Eden ( our perfect union with God), the history recounted in scripture is that of humanity’s desire to return to the garden of Eden (at the time of Revelation) and back into union with God. Many of our conversations in Christian Believer take us back to the foundational story of creation. And, so it is that story of creation that I want to take us back today.
When we read the first story of creation, we are reminded of the great gifts God has given to us. Gifts, that are sometimes so wondrous, that we take them for granted or forget that our Creator has blessed us with them. To read the story of creation is to remember the wondrous gifts and the goodness of the gifts we have been given. Each day God sat back and said that each gift was good. When God got to the creation of our humanity and our four-legged creatures, God said “It is very good.” In God’s eyes all of creation, but especially our lives are very good.
Then God pauses. He stops and reflects on what has been created, accomplished and given to humanity. God rests and remembers. In the Jewish tradition, this is the last day of creation, the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a time, particularly for Orthodox Jews, to not work but be fully immersed in the presence of God, the Creator. It is a time to realign one’s self to God and God’s purposes. We read in Tuesday’s devotions from the book of Leviticus that Sabbath happens once a week, but also every seven years and every fifty years as the God’s creatures and creation realign themselves to God. In the Christian tradition, our sabbath is on Sundays. It is the first day of the week because that is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Each Sunday is both Sabbath and resurrection - the glorious notion that love is stronger than hate, light is greater than darkness and life wins over death. Our Sundays are our time that we pause to realign ourselves with God and God’s purposes for the coming week.
I have been theologically ruminating on the Coronavirus outbreak. What might it mean for us to not live in fear but in the goodness of God’s creation? Perhaps this time of quarantine is our Sabbath. We have been given a time to pause, to reconsider, to reflect on what God has given to us and thus, what is important to us. I wonder if this time but pushed aside that which divides us and give us a chance to be united. I wonder if this time might help us reflect on how bitter our language toward one another has been and that we will find another way. I wonder if this time might help us to think about who our neighbor is and actually get to know our neighbors? I wonder if this time might help us reflect on how we spend our time and to reprioritize in spending our time more closely aligned with how God wants us to spend our time?
What is it that you wonder about?
How might you/we return to a right relationship with God and experience the garden - the gifts of creation?
Dear God, Help me to not feel so anxious in these days. Help me to use this time reflecting on what God has given me and our world. Help me to feel strength in the wonder of these gifts. And lead me, dear God, to wonder about my life in relationship to you and your creation. Pull me closer in alignment to you and your purposes. Amen.