Every week at All Saints, the leadership sends out a traditional-style worship guide for use by our families to prepare for the coming Lord's Day with the readings we'll hear and [hopefully] heed then. Here's a sample of mine for next week:
INSIGHT: There is so much to mine from this famous passage, but the main thrust of the author is in the order of the creation process. Notice that if you take the first three days and line them up above the last three days, they perfectly correspond to each other, day by day. God was working in the first half of the week to prepare and then in the second half of the week to fulfill and complete His creation. If you were there on the first part of the first day, it would have been unclear that God was up to anything “good”. Even by the third day, it ‘did not yet appear what the earth should be’. But by the end, God brought it all together in beauty and completion. He loves order. He loves preparation. He works things out to fulfillment according to His plan. Remember where we are in the lectionary readings [and Church History]. This is the Sunday after Pentecost, Trinity Sunday. We remember the way that God had been working throughout all of human history to prepare, then “in the fullness of time” when it was just right, He sent Christ. Then, following this, He sent His Spirit. At the end of this process, we can join Him as we look back on His work in the world and declare it all to be “very good”.
QUESTIONS: What specifically is the relationship of the first half of the week to the last? What comfort can we draw from God’s creation pattern for our own lives personally? How does the order of creation in Genesis differ from the standard timeline of evolutionary development proposed by many contemporary scientists? This passage contains the basis for what’s called ‘the dominion mandate’. What is good about the “green” environmental movement, and what needs to be corrected? If the earth was created as a very “good” thing for us to enjoy and tend to, how should we then live – how should our attitudes and dispositions reflect this? [hint: it doesn’t look like Puddleglum]
PRAYER: Holy Father, You are good. The universe which You have created is too small a place to contain Your goodness. We praise You for Your eternal goodness, and thank You for this good earth, over which You graciously reign according to Your good plan. Give us eyes to see the light of Your Word overcoming the darkness in the world today. And give us hearts to rest and rejoice in it, for You are at work, doing all things well. Finally, make us to be faithful stewards in all things over which You’ve placed us, by the power of Your Spirit Who moved upon the waters, and in the name of Your Son, our Lord, Whose world this is. Amen.
[artwork: God as the Architect of the world - illumination from the Bible Moralisee, A. D. 1220-30]