Posts Tagged ‘The World’

Some Assembly Required 7-24-16

In this sermon, based on the first account of creation in Genesis 1:1-2:3, I explore the ongoing work that God has done in bringing our reality away from a formless void and moving towards order. This work is ongoing, and God has invited us to be a part of it.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/some-assembly-required-7-24-16

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Often times when something annoys me, I end up calling it the bane of my existence…and I do this because I’m a little bit of a drama queen…and I’m okay with that.

But if there is one thing that truly does get my goat…it’s the phrase…some assembly required…and specifically…when I open up a package and find a batch of instructions that begin with this evil evil phrase. It happens with any number of different things…most recently, it was a new dresser…I’ve seen it on countless birthdays and Christmas mornings…after the presents are opened of course…and I even think about it when I’m faced with fajitas at a Mexican restaurant…I refuse to order them because my food should not be…some assembly required. (pause)
And yet, when we think about it…everything…absolutely everything here in our existence…was at one point…some assembly required…someone, or something…put it together…and we know this, because scientific discovery has allowed us to observe matter, all the way down to the atomic level…and of course, science is also working to bring our understanding down even farther than that…but since I don’t have an astrophysics degree, I’m gonna let that one go. (pause)

All of this…every single bit of it came from somewhere.  Now how it all works? I don’t know…Where it all came from…I don’t know…and I don’t have to…and yes I know that there are many different theories and ideas and understandings and interpretations…and we aren’t here to debate them today…but rather…we take a look around…as we find ourselves out in nature…out in our natural reality…out here in…creation.

Now creation is an interesting word…because it speaks to the very notion of being made…that this place where we are today…is part of a larger whole…this park, is part of a county…which is part of a state…which is part of a nation…which is part of a continent…which is part of a hemisphere…which is part of our world….and it doesn’t stop there…because it’s a part of our solar system, which is part of our galaxy…which is part of our universe…and at this point I’ll turn it back over to the astrophysicists again to explain it further.

But all of this…that which we can see and observe…and that which is either too small or too large…or simply too different for us to be able to witness…all of this…came from somewhere….and today we have heard an account of the creation of our reality…one of many possibilities…shoot, one of two that we find with distinct differences even within the first two chapters of scripture…an account that certainly butts heads with scientific theories…one that butts heads with other cultural mythologies of where everything came from.

This story…Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 through chapter 2 verse 3…tells the story of how God started off with a formless void…and step by step…in ways that we cannot understand or fathom…and certainly in ways that we ourselves cannot achieve…God has brought that formless void up to the point that we see as we look around right now…in this moment.

Now once again…I’m not going to tell you if you should take this batch of 34 verses literally…I’m not going to say that God pulled it off in 6 days and that the earth is a few thousand years old…and on the flip side I’m not going say that the Big Bang is right and all of this has been swirling around for a dozen or so billion years…you can make up your own minds about that.

But what I do think is this…that if we are to look at this story of creation, not to mention the second one that starts up immediately after it…I believe that we find a very simple and yet profound truth…that creation…was some assembly required…and that in each respective time frame…be them days or eons…God took creation one step away from that formless void…that chaos…and with each respective step, God brings creation…nearer and nearer to completion.

And with each step…God takes a look and like a proud craftsman…God nods his head and says….Yah…that’s good. (pause)

Day one…God hovers over a formless void…and we hear there’s water…which is understandable as the Jewish culture views the deep…the ocean…the sea…they understand as the unknown void…and if you’ve ever stood next to sea shore and felt utterly small…then you understand this.

That’s how things are…formless, empty, unknown…and dark…devoid of even the slightest trace of light…and so…that’s where God starts…Be light…and Light was…and there was a separation…and distinction between darkness and light…one step towards order…and that’s good.

And then God decided that there needs to be something of separation between water…there must have two sets of water…and so God made a dome to separate the top water from the bottom…and God called it sky…and God nodded his head…cuz that’s good.

And then God looked at the world that was in process…and God pulled the water together and called it Sea…and the dry land appeared and God called it Earth…so not only do has creation achieved separate and order between the land and the water…and not only has God set a boundary on the sea saying “you’ll come this far and no farther” But now we even hear that God grants identity to the two…you will be sea and you will be earth…another step towards order…and its good. (pause)

And now God starts making thing interesting…because next we have vegetation…grass and trees and all kinds of plant life…and we hear that God makes them to bear seed…to be able to reproduce…its at this point that God allows his creation…this ongoing masterpiece to begin to work along side him in the ongoing process of creating order…because if the plants can reproduce…then for the first time we have something able to be formed without God doing it directly…and what does God say? He says that’s good.

And then, God continues this work of creating distinction and order and he makes the sun and moon and stars…and makes them in such a way that they create order in the days and years and seasons…and even night and day…and that’s good.

And then God decides that plant life isn’t sufficient…because life is just too cool…and so the waters bring forth all matter of fish and swarming creatures…and the air is full of birds…and its good and God likes it and he tells these creatures…be fruitful and multiply…and fill the earth….and once more we have a step forward…as intelligent life is empowered to create of itself to fill the earth with life…and as good as God knows that is…he’s not content with the sea and the sky to be filled…and so he brings forth the beasts of the land…of every kind…and its good.

So now by this point…things have come a long way…we started with a formless void and now we have the earth and the seas and sky all filled with life…and we have the amazing creation of the earth itself with all of its majesty…but God’s not satisfied yet.

And so God makes that one thing that scripture tells us is God’s greatest creation…humanity…made in very image of God…and now what’s that mean? That’s a great question…maybe that divine image is what gives us our intellence…or our ability to form culture and relationships…maybe it is in the very appearance of our bodies…it could be a lot of things…or maybe its all of these things…but most importantly…it includes our God-given ability and instruction to join with him in the ongoing work of creation…and an appreciation for beauty and order.

We have this ability, because God instructed us to be fruitful and multiply…and subdue the earth…humanity alone in this amazing creation…we alone we invited by God to join with him in the work of bring all of this towards completion…with each step, God has brought things farther away from chaos and towards the ultimate balance…and we aren’t there yet…but isn’t it amazing to realize that God desires our help in this work…and if you don’t believe me…then believe God…because while every step up to this point has been…good…once God makes us and invites us into this work…indeed…it is…VERY GOOD.

And so, may we use our gifts and talents…those very qualities and abilities to help God create…believing in the promise that one day this work will be completed…and that God has promised that we each have a place within it. Amen.