Today’s Author: Paul Sponheim
We have heard this week of a calling for human beings in Creation’s dynamic story. This concept of calling is something Lutherans are big on. I’m thinking about that calling today as I page through the morning paper. What’s in the news? Well, lately the death toll from the floods in Europe. The deep drought in the western United States. This news, I sense, is importantly different from the spreading horror of dementia and the inevitability of death. If we spoke yesterday of them as natural evil, today we seek to face up to something we must call moral evil. The coronavirus may be a natural phenomenon but the misinformation campaign of the anti-vaxxers is not. Climate change and systemic racism are not the work of the Creator’s hand.
All the same, God is still the Creator, so what healing libation can we draw from the ever-flowing gift of God’s active presence in this life which is so limited by nature and marred by malevolence. The text from last Sunday still guides us. The imperative verbs are preceded by the ringing assertion that we are created in God’s image (vs.27). That’s in the Creator’s image. Let’s borrow Lutheran theologian Phil Hefner’s fine phrase: we are called to be “created co-creators”. The qualifier is important. Over every seminarian’s study desk should stand the Latin saying: Ex nihilo nihil fit. If you start with nothing, nothing is what you will get. But what about God? In Genesis chapter one at the most what God starts with is a “formless void”, darkness covering the face of the deep and a brooding Spirit. But at God’s voice do all things flow. Think of it—we are made in the image of that God! We are called to be created co-creators.
There are many wonderful themes emanating from this foundation that we are created in God’s image. In the moment we still have this morning I want to stress one thing: the scope, the range of God’s creative work. That’s the work we are to image. Think of that! We are— all of us— creatures; most fundamentally we share that common ground. We have forgotten that sometimes and care for creation has been missing in the “dominion” we have exercised over the other creatures and the earth itself. We have defied that common creaturehood when we formed tribal groupings where our identity depends on keeping the others outside the gates. The other races, the other faiths, the other animals.
So let us go forward today in penitence and hope, believing that the Creator is present and at work in this universal scope. God is actively present in everyone and everything we meet today. We’ll claim the apostle Paul’s word for all of us that “whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s”. (Romans 14:8) And then, who knows, maybe one day this Creator God, who heard our borning cry, will be there with “just one more surprise”. Then, Julian of Norwich tells us, “all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well”.
Prayer of the week –
Boundless God, we are overwhelmed with the power, the beauty, the peacefulness and the glory of your great creation. Fill us with your creative Spirit, so that we can participate with you in the ongoing creative work that is unfolding in the world. I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. God’s power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen.
(Prayer resource to be used on Day 2 of the 2022 National Youth Gathering)
“Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community. If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contact Pastor Peter.“