1: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2: The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God brooded over the waters. 3: And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
I finished Revelation and went straight to Genesis to start again. I’ve been reading through the Bible for years. Decades. Ever since I got out of Divinity School. At Duke. Dear old Duke. I took some kind of biblical course every semester. In my senior year, I took Hebrew in both semesters. I take the Bible seriously, you know.
So when one reads like this, they go from Revelation and the destruction and coming of a New Jerusalem to an earth that, basically, is no more…to Genesis. Right into the creation epic that was written (probably) during the Babylonian exile affirming a peaceful beginning to the world when the prevailing creation stories of the dominant religion detailed a great war between the gods and creation exploding from the fallout of that great war.
The Spirit of God brooding over the waters. What an image. Creation came from thought, from peace, from nothingness…with a word. A spoken (though some Hebrew scholars say a sung) word. I wonder today if God still doesn’t brood over creation. I wonder if guava from created bats which gave us COVID 19 is part of that brooding. Maybe humans have taken too much jurisdiction over creation. Maybe we’ve wasted and taxed our resources without regard to creation. Maybe we’ve been lazy and polluted. Maybe we’ve considered that making money is more important than living faithfully in a created world. Maybe creation is simply fighting back.
As we have sought to recover, we have seen a few things happen; clearer skies, clearer water, slower lives, more thought, walking outside rather than in gyms, a recovered art of conversation, and ever-shifting new priorities. We don’t like it. We’ve tried to reopen. We’ve tried to ignore it. We’ve turned on each other. Hate language has been perpetuated in the highest offices of the land. But it has our attention, doesn’t it? Places that opened up are now closing up. I’m flying home on Wednesday. I will be on an airplane with a mask and social distance. I will have to quarantine for 14 days. But creation has our attention. God is still brooding over creation. Maybe God will speak again. Maybe…just maybe…this time…we will listen.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world; why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad.
O God who brooded over creation so long ago, help us to learn and to change, so that we can work with your creation and not against it; through Jesus Christ…your Spoken Word; Amen.
Pastor Rick Moser