(Read the Prayer for Trinity Sunday here)
(Read a Fathers'Day prayer here)
Paul ends his letter with what has become the best known benediction among Christians, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
- The first chapter of Genesis reveals to us that God is creative – He seeks to build, He seeks to make new, and He always seeks to make better. We, if we are to be like God, should be creative.....always looking to make new, to make better. Sometimes, making new means breaking down (the rest of Scripture will show us that our God sometimes breaks down, His people, His Temple...... but always because He has something better in mind.) In these last few weeks, we have seen bulldozers breaking down people’s homes in our country, but with nothing better in the offing. That is not creative. God sometimes brought a bulldozer to His people, their Temple and sometimes to His Church – but always because something better was in the offing. We are called to be, and re-created to be, creative.
- God is especially creative through His words – His words left Creation in place. Our words, our tongues, ought to be creative and to leave behind creation or the possibility of creation, through the wisdom, knowledge and love imparted by our words.
- God creates from nothing and the nothingness from which He creates is in some translations called “the chaos” in verse 2 of Genesis 1. This is very encouraging in a broken, chaotic world, in a world where many often feel they have “nothing” left. The person re-created in God’s image, the person who desperately longs to become more like God, especially as revealed in Jesus, realises that chaos and nothingness are the very means, the building blocks, of the possibility of something good and something new. God’s Spirit hovers over these things in people’s lives, often waiting for God’s people to proclaim a creative word, like God would, over the mess and chaos of people's situations.
- Our God has a rhythm that is good......and I’d love to spend a whole sermon on this but can’t. God’s heart seems to beat in a certain way, and when ours beats to the same rhythm, I give personal testimony to the fact that our lives change for the better. After each day of creation, we hear these words: “And there was evening, and there was morning, and that was the first (second, third......) day.” In God’s rhythm, a new day starts......in the evening, at sunset. In other words, the day starts with......rest. Now you may say that this is just playing with words......but they are God’s words, and therefore I think we ought to listen to them and let our minds be conformed to them... Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Paul in Romans12) The Romans said the new day began at midnight and the Greeks said the new day began at sunrise. God’s people have always said: The new day begins at sunset. I’d love to go into this more but will leave it here: to be made in the likeness of God means to also think as God does and move to the same rhythm as God does.
- We see in the Creation story, that God trusts those who are made in His image. He makes all of creation and says: Will you take care of it for me? Trust is His default. We live in a world where distrust is the default – people have to prove themselves trustworthy in order to earn our trust – can you see how that is the exact opposite of the God in whose image we are created, and hopefully are busy being re-created. And the Bible shows in the next chapter that God’s trust was totally misplaced......but here’s the mystery and the grace and the love......He refuses to not trust those who have proven themselves untrustworthy. That takes tremendous faith on our part but it is often the only way we can speak a creative word into the life of someone the world has discarded.
- He blesses......and we should too. Last week, we looked at, “We are blessed in order to be a blessing” ...... so no more on that this morning.
- He rests, and people becoming like Him, should rest as well. As I read the Creation story, it seems to me that the first thing that humans created in God’s image do......is rest. Sunset comes on Day 6, just after God created humans in our image.... and it is bedtime. Then they wake up the next day, the 7th day, and probably say, all excitedly, “Wow......what now......what are we to do on this first morning......” and God says: ...... “it’s a day for you to rest!”