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And on the Seventh Day

Genesis 1:1-2:3

Penetecost +11. Common Lectionary Year A

©2017 Rev. Elisabeth R. Jones

For this All-Ages worship, we midrashed the story of creation together with a short passage from the Gospel of Mark. This formed the basis for our continued “Sabbath Time” reflection at the Faith Fiesta which followed the service.

Audio file – opening meditation

Audio file – scripture midrash part 1

Audio file – midrash part 2

We also enjoyed this video set to the music of John Rutter: Look at the World

There’s this story in the library of God-stories we call the Bible.
It comes at the very beginning,
and in fact that’s how it begins. It says

“In the Beginning
when God was creating the earth.”
That’s what we live believing here; that this is all God’s world,
that God created, and hasn’t stopped since.
God is a Creating Creator.

This story says, that back in the very beginning,
God shaped and formed creation out of
……some call it “nothing,”
but the Bible writers call it
“Tohu va bohu” ??? ????
Chaos, formlessness, muss and mess,
paint and a brush
a pile of sand and a rake
flour, yeast, water,
pieces of wood, a saw and some nails
nuggets of metal and a hot fire
paper, pen, words,
Toho va bohu is the stuff with which, if you’re God,
or made in God’s image,
we get to make something beautiful, hopeful!

Let’s see if between us, we can remember this story
about God creating:

A Story a Story…..

In the beginning, when God was creating,
the earth was all muss and mess, and darkness,
and into that darkness and muss and mess,
God spoke, saying… “Let there be…. light!”

God stood back to look at this brand new light, and said,
“This is so cool! This is GOOD!”

The next day, God made this:
(Sky)- the heavens like a beautiful canopy of light wrapping around the earth like
the most beautiful silk prayer shawl you will ever see!
And God stood back, took a look at the world and said,
“That is cool! This is GOOD!!”

The next day,
God played in the mess and muss, like we do at the beach,
separating the land from the sea,
and made mountains filled with seashells that scrape the sky,
and prairies that look like a golden sea,
and tomato plants bright with red jewels,
and sweetcorn fat with honey gold goodness,
and giant redwoods, and broccoli trees…

And God took a break, and looked at the world and said,
“This is so cool! This is GOOD!!”

On day four, God dreamed up, and began to make a universe of planets, and moons, and stars, and inky blue, and rosy pink galaxies,
and head on one side, set this little blue orb spinning around a star, and rolled up a little white moon to light the shadows of the night.
And God took a break, and looked at everything she’d made, and said
“This is so cool! This is GOOD!!”

On day five, God floated in an empty sea, looking at a silent sky,
and this idea formed…
whales and dolphins,
stripey fish, and eight-legged suction cupped octopus, inky squids,
and up above, soaring eagles, and bright red cardinals, and chatty chickadees,
and diving gannets and kingfishers and waddly penguins..
And God took a break, looked at the world, and said,
“This is so cool! This is GOOD!!”

God dreamt that night, and worried a little
about how all this muss and mess would keep its
newfound goodness, and when God woke the next morning,
down into the mud, God’s hands began to shape….
us… people,
Can I tell you what God whispered into our ears and our hearts
as we were being formed from stardust, and earth, and love?
God whispered,
“You are so cool. You are so Good!
See! I’ve made you just like me, all of you,
so that you can help me take care of all this,
all this GOODness.”

That was the sixth day.

And on the seventh day,
God, took a break from all this creating,
and looked at everything that God had made from
the muss and mess,
and whispered,
“This is so cool! This is GOOD!!”

Then God laughed,
and sang and shouted louder than thunder,
saying,
“This is so cool! This is GOOD!!”

And then God turned to us and said.
“Don’t you think so too?”

And we?
How shall we answer?
That is the question!

– – –
(Mark 6:31-2)

I like to think that this story was one of Jesus’ very favourite stories.
Not just the amazing goodness of creation bit,
but the bit about God taking a break to look intentionally for the goodness of all things.
Jesus’ life wasn’t easy.
He lived in a time when people were miserable and angry,
when empires made life really hard for ordinary people.
It would be easy to ignore the goodness hidden behind the chaos.
But, time and time and time again, every one of the Gospels
give us an Instagram shot of Jesus
doing just that.
In the thick of the tohu va bohu of a world
falling short of God’s Dream,
Jesus worked hard, but often he stopped the work,
and “took himself off into the dark just before the dawn”
to pray, to take a break, to recreate that moment of
creation of light, and dream and hope.

And he taught us to do the same also.
In Mark’s Gospel, one notorious for its busy rushedness,
we have this moment, when after Jesus has sent the disciples out
into Herod’s ugly world to live the Dream of God,
to heal, and help to feed spirits and bodies,
to bring light into the darkness,
they came back tired out from the work, and he said to them
“Come away with me, to the edge of wilderness (tohu va bohu),
and there, let’s take a break. Let’s do what God would do,
rest a while from this work of creating God’s Dream.
And look at the world,
and see its goodness.”

So here’s what we’ll do now.
We’ll take a moment in peace and quiet,
here and now
to watch and listen to this video,
a way for us to be like Jesus and his disciples,
and to be like God, even!
Taking a break, to look at the world,
and see its God-given goodness.

I’m going to invite you also to hold your heart/tear drop while you do watch.
Your invitation is to put onto this some word or image
of something that causes you to say with God
“This is so cool, this is so Good!”
OR
some chaos/ mess and muss that you feel called to respond to
with your own gift of creative goodness.

You have the morning, or the day, or the week,
If you complete it in worship, add it to the board on our way out.
If you take with you to the Fiesta, we will have a basket for you to drop it in.
If you take it with you into the week, add it to this part of the board when you come back next week.

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