02 Dec 2 December ~ 7 days, including rest!
2 December: 7 days, including rest!
(Genesis 1: 1 – 2:3, Matthew 6:25-34)
In the opening chapter of Genesis, we are told that the Lord created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh. We can become very quickly embroiled in all kinds of debate and controversy about how the world came to be. Was there a big bang or did it take shape from a loving Creator’s hand? Was it a literal six days or is it figurative? How do we square creation with evolution?
I’ve always tended to avoid confrontation, which is why perhaps my understanding of these verses tends to be simple. A walk along the coastal path reveals the beauty of what God has made and I see the changing seasons and colours as well as the contrasting moods of Belfast Lough.
On display also, an amazing variety of plants and flowers, fish, animals and birds. I look to the hills as a picture of permanence, but then I turn my attention to a tiny flower and I see God in the detail.
Again I look and sometimes I encounter wildness and mystery as the wind lashes and the waves rise, reminding me both that I cannot fathom God and that faith itself can be an adventure in the storm. C S Lewis refers in this way to Aslan the lion, an allegory of Christ: “Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course, he’s not safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” Even in adversity we do not need to doubt the goodness of God.
At other times it’s so calm and peaceful down by the shore – the gentle breezes, deep ocean blues sparkling in the summer sunshine and echoes of children’s laughter.
The climax of Genesis 1 is often seen as the creation of mankind, male and female. How amazing that we bear God’s image and to see others in this way too!
We are given stewardship over creation, and told to look after it and care for it.
I’m always taken to the final verse in the sequence: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing, so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
We cannot afford to be busier than the Almighty himself! If we take rest and worship out of the equation, then very quickly we run the risk of burn out and exhaustion. We tend to work, work, work and work until we finally collapse in a heap. The rush of this Christmas season is exactly the same as we keep pushing ourselves until finally we lock ourselves somewhere in a darkened room!
These verses invite us to do life differently. Instead of working and then finding rest, our priority is rediscovering that first day of the week as Sabbath worship and rest, appreciating the beauty of so many blessings around us including the seashore, and from that place of renewal and restoration going out into the challenges of the week ahead.
A debate of my own which I would raise from the creation narrative – is mankind really the climax of creation or is it the day of worship and rest? Jesus said: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rets for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Amen
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