Creation: Genesis 1-2, John 1:1-14
The opening of Genesis allows us to glimpse the creative power of God. We’re told “the earth was formless and empty” (or “tohu wa bohu” in the original Hebrew), a phrase referring to disorder or chaos. Right at the start, ‘hovering over the surface of the waters’ is the Spirit of God and, John 1 tells us, it was actually through the Word of God that ‘all things were made’. So creation, like our salvation, involves all of God.
John 1 reminds us that, when we become those who believe in his name, our Creator – the Word of God – becomes our Saviour and we are ‘born of God’ – remarkably becoming his children. Grateful wonder at our adoption into this family can surely only grow when we reflect that precisely the same power that brings into being what the Creator speaks … is in Jesus too. In John 9, Jesus graphically illustrates this by saying he is the ‘light of the world’ when he heals a blind man, bringing him the light.
Light, of course, is the foundation of life: created on the first day it emanates from the Word and the Spirit of God. In John 9 Jesus mixes his very essence (spit) with earth’s dust and, after washing, the blind man can see! (God creates people from the dust of the earth so Jesus mixing his spit with dust makes perfect sense.) The light that Jesus brings – God’s radiance – can never be overcome by darkness.
The famous hymn, ‘How Great Thou Art’, recalls (in v1) that the power of God is still “throughout the universe displayed” in myriad ways: stars, worlds, rolling thunder. Then (in v2) “lofty mountain grandeur” is contrasted with a brook and a gentle breeze, before in the following verses, the Cross and the majestic return of Christ are both celebrated. The magnificent arc of this hymn can’t, sadly, be captured in a single English word that brings creation and redemption together in Jesus: there is none. Perhaps as a consequence, we frequently struggle to hold the great creative and the redemptive acts of God together. Yet Jesus is both divine Creator and divine Son. He is both the light and life of the world: ‘the radiance of God’s glory’ (Heb. 1.3).
God gives humanity responsibility for the creation he has so thoughtfully made. Later in Genesis (1:26-29) the words “dominion” and “subdue” refer to God’s desire to work in partnership with us to be good and grateful stewards of his world. This is an invitation to follow the example of the Holy Spirit whose role in creation is to bring order, hope and life. God continues to give us that choice – we can choose to work in partnership with him or to define for ourselves what it means to have our own dominion and to subdue the environment.
To the God of Light, I bring my praise and thanksgiving today. You, Lord, are my light and my salvation. In your light I see light. Your light can never be overcome and you are the source of my life. Cleansed, restored, forgiven, I bask and thrive in your gift of light today and bring you my grateful thanks and praise. I acknowledge the responsibilities you have placed upon us as stewards of your creation.
Through the choices I make as I walk your earth, may I work in partnership with you as you intend. Come Holy Spirit and bring restoration and redemption to your world I pray. May I play my part.
I pray for those people who are facing repeated droughts, floods and storms: that God may grant them strength and hope for the future as they work to adapt to the changing climate.
May the Holy Spirit inspire leaders, throughout the world, to embrace the changes needed to foster a more sustainable society. Instil in leaders the courage and gentleness to implement fairer solutions for the poorest and most vulnerable, and commit their nations to the care of our common home. Amen
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