Sermons

Go, Create (Genesis 1:1-24)

Joan MacPherson, September 10, 2017
Part of the Sunday series, preached at a Sunday Morning service

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Go, Create
Genesis 1:1-2:4
And it was evening and it was morning the first day. And it was evening and it was morning the second day. A pattern begins. Day 1, day 2 and on for six days of vivid descriptions of the Holy One speaking and bringing this awesome world and all of her parts into being. With voices as varied and beautiful as creation itself we heard the details read and the days events displayed. Jim was holding up the tapestries that were stitched by a host of women in the congregation illustrating what got birthed on the first 6 days. A pattern unfolds, the world takes shape, life in a variety of forms enters in. All of it alive because the Holy has had a vision and spoke that vision out loud. All of it alive because the Holy created. From what was nothing came life. From one form of life came more life. This is the way of God to be creating and transforming and expanding and spreading - life, in a variety of forms. We hear about it, it goes on for 6 days. On and on. The reading was long. On and on. With great intention on and on. This creating is not a one shot deal by any stretch.
There was a lot that happen in those first 6 days of evening and morning. As we talk about it I am hoping you can embrace this as poetry and metaphor with me. We talk about the number of days but not with the understanding of our 24 hour days. We talk about life being created but not as scientists. They have important work to do those scientists. They have important questions to address but they are different then the work and questions we have as the church. Our questions are about meaning not theories. What does it mean that our sacred story says that every part of the earth is the vision and creation of our loving and compassionate God? What does that mean for how we care for the environment and the animals and the people of all kinds? What does it mean that the root of our being is a pattern of night and day? That over and over and over again the dark gives way to light? And just as regularly light gives way to darkness but the darkness never has the last word because light is coming? And what does it mean that after 6 days of creating the Holy pauses?
This story is the root of who we are and how we understand ourselves as church. Humans that have been created in the image of our compassionate, gracious God. Placed in a world that has a rhythm and a pattern. Sun, water, plants, birds, mammals, humans - all created by God and all with the potential to create more life. This is the root of our being as the church. This has meaning. This gives our lives meaning. This means that there is no where that God is not. This means that in every place there is the possibility for new life. This is a truth that can heal us, this is a truth that can heal the world. But do we know it and accept it? And how will we take that truth to the world?
We gather this morning on the “first day back” . I have been eagerly anticipating this day for many weeks now. Not that I wanted to rush the wonder of summer away but because I have been so eager for the community and vision and energy and ministry of this community of hope that isn’t as strong when so many are away. Our summer rest (not that it was a restful summer by any means) is a bit like that 7th day in our sacred story. We have had time to revel and wander and float and grill and immerse ourselves in the rest of summer. In our sacred story we heard that on the 7th day of creation God rested also. Rest is part of the pattern. Rest is part of the rhythm (not just in summer, how we need it the whole year long). Rest is part of the pattern but it is part of a pattern of evening and morning Just as each of the first six days were movement, evening/morning, evening/morning; the day of rest transitions into evening/morning on the following day. Our sacred story doesn’t say what that looked like. The sacred story stops describing on the 7th day and then leaves room for the church to be intentionally and lovingly creating what comes next for each evening/morning combination through out time.
We are shaped by the holy speaking a vision of creativity. It is our call to go into the world and create in that spirit. After the election this year, in the reality of all that is so divided, I committed to use my time to connect with people of faith who were working to create something of life and hope. I knew I didn’t want to be about being anti and shouting and arguing. I wanted to create life. I have restated that commitment to myself and publicly as I have discerned my responses to immigrant needs, the racism and bigotry of Charlottesville, concern about North Korea, watching the storm patterns across the world. Pain, fear, anger, revulsion, horror have all been experienced but what do I do with that? It has been my personal discipline to connect with people of faith to create something of life. This has drawn me to work in the sanctuary movement because it is a way to create life as one example.
Isn’t that just what God is modeling/offering us in our sacred story? Creating life. In a host of forms and ways. We all aren’t called to the same ministries but we are all called to create life. This is what the church is about. This is how we are needed in the world. We come to hear the story, to connect to God and we go to create more life, more love, more peace, more justice. We go trusting that the one who created life out of nothing will give us what we need to create life out of what is now. So come, experience God’s love, then go, serve God’s world, go create. Amen.

Joan MacPherson
Main Street Congregational UCC
September 10, 2017

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Genesis 1:1-24

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens 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 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens 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 expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And 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 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on 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.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And 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 according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. (ESV)

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