Saturday, October 12, 2013

And There Was Morning

I'm all out of sorts this morning.OK, it isn't morning anymore.It was when I started this process.Not much of morning to be sure, but a little bit of morning was left.But that has now been frittered away.Frittered?Does anyone use that word anymore?Frittered, means to break or tear into small pieces, to waste away piece by piece.

Well, the morning began with the crazy dogs.La Donna is gone at a Conference UMW meeting of some sort, left last night.I had to pill the cat before going to bed.Fun.Especially since both cats are grumping around, wrecking all kinds of havoc, ever since Maddie left.They seem to think we have done away with her in some nefarious manner and now they are making us pay.We have to cover the bed with a shower curtain.Yeah, that kind of havoc.

Anyway, I had to get up early (after 13 innings of the first game of the National League Championship Series - go Dodgers) to walk the dogs.Which I apparently have forgotten how to do.They kept stopping to look at me as if they were saying, "Now what are you doing?"Then I either went too slow or too fast.Didn't perform the right rituals when we got back to the house.Didn't say the right words when I saw them in the morning.Fed them the wrong food, or put it in the bowl wrong.Or something.When crazy dogs give you a look of disdain, it can be hard to take early in the morning.

Then I had to go get my tire fixed.Somewhere I picked up a nail in my tire that caused a slow leak, not a blow out, thankfully, but a slow leak.Added air a couple of times (paying for it, nothing is free anymore - I bought air), and it would be ok for a while, but then went out and saw it was completely flat.So, a tire plug and rotation and oil change (since I was there anyway), then I was back ready to start.

My Saturday of preparation was blown out of the water before I even got started.Plus I was gone for over a week and got back and walked into the buzz saw of the necessary day to day stuff, effectively snuffing out the excitement that had been building over the plans for 2014.

Chaos.That what is feels like.Like there isn't any order, any sense of rightness about my life today.I know, get over it, right?There are folks tons worse off than you.There are places in the world today that are light years more chaotic than yours.We've got a world holding its collective breath over whether the United States will default on an almost incomprehensible debt, which would trigger an economic collapse that would dwarf 2008, some say.We've got a super storm threatening the Indian peninsula.We've got the remains of a twelve year old war in the mountains of Afghanistan.Add to that our usual crushing poverty and human exploitation on a global scale, and you've got chaos that staggers the already staggered imagination.

Genesis 1:1-5In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth,2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

What's this?Order, out of chaos.Light in the midst of darkness.And the light was good.And there was morning.When you didn't think there could be another one, there is morning.Thanks be to God.

Genesis 1:6-8And God said, "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so.8 God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. The waters represent chaos, the unknown and unknowing.In the ancient world, sending sailors to sea was a traumatic experience.The ritual for sending was like a funeral, the return like a resurrection.Who knows what is going to happen out there, who knows whether those who are sent will ever be seen again.Now we have tamed the sea.At least we think we have.Until the storm surge reminds us what power is, until the threat of rising waters troubles our easy confidence.What will our coastlines look like in fifty years?In a hundred?

By separating the waters, God was staking a claim as Lord of chaos and order.Saying "when you pass through the waters, I will be with you."Our God is in control.

Genesis 1:9-13And God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so.10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.11 Then God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it." And it was so.12 The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Let the earth put forth.God enlists the aid of creation in the act of creating.God invites partnership.Work with me here, God is saying, get on board.Though perfectly capable of creating solo, out of nothing, God instead chooses to invite participation.Let the earth bring forth... it was good.And there was morning.It goes on.

Genesis 1:14-19And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years,15 and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so.16 God made the two great lights-- the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night-- and the stars.17 God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth,18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

The Genesis story stands in opposition to other creation stories.Many have pointed to the similarities, and believe that this diminishes the story somehow.But Genesis makes its claim regardless.God is the only deity, notice that the sun and moon are not named in this story.In other tales, these are gods themselves, but not in Genesis.God is the only power, the lights "rule" only because God put them there.And it was good.

Genesis 1:20-31And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky."21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good.22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so.25 God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.26 Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."29 God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The story goes on, of course.For sixty-six books and for thousands of years.It goes on until today, where we find ourselves in the midst of chaos attempting to throw off order.It goes on until the day where we find ourselves forgetting that there is a purpose to our existence.It goes on, the story, the mornings go on.

That's the blessing here.It was evening and it was morning, a new day.Another day.When you were sure that your failures meant the sun would never shine again, it crawls over the horizon even so.God set it all in motion, and invited us to be a part.Whatever dominion meant, it now must mean caring for, it must mean stewarding.We participate in God's act of creation by making sure that it lasts as long as it can.Whatever subduing meant, it now must mean partnering with the earth to bring forth enough to feed the teeming billions.

And why?Why are we called to participate in this act?Why are privileged or burdened with an extra responsibility or promise?Because we are made in the image of God.And we are given the story, so we know.We know that everything there is did not come about because of us.We know that our main mode of existence is one of gratitude.We know that all we are and all we have belongs to the one who said "let there be light."

Did I mention that our Stewardship Campaign begins this week?It is called "Investing in a Sure Thing."And we start, not with us and what we can do, or should do, or will do.We start with what has been done for us.We start with the One who invested everything that we might have life.And then called it good.

And gave us another morning.Thanks be to God.

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