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Today’s Author: Paul Sponheim

Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have been in the news lately. Suppose some wealthy believer was to book a seat on the next flight to the edge of space. Suppose he did that hoping to see God. Branson was saying future passengers should not waste the wonderful view by taking time to take pictures. Just so, true faith is not for tourists. Science certainly has a valid agenda here and it is not entertainment. But the real problem with this believer’s scenario is that the God we need is back where the believer started from: ON EARTH. And the best viewing angle is right here: “in, with and under” the creaturely.

That’s the wonderful gift of creation: God’s abiding and active presence. Let’s stand a little today on the strong shoulders of Søren Kierkegaard, the frail Danish genius. He marvels over the wonder that each “individual human being exists before God . . . may speak with God any time he wants to, assured of being heard by him—in short, this person is invited to live on the most intimate terms with God.” He goes on to recount the Jesus story, saying that “this suffering God . . . almost implores and beseeches this person to accept the help that is offered to him!” Kierkegaard comments: Truly, if there is anything to lose one’s mind over, this is it!” (The Sickness unto Death) In another book this so-called gloomy Dane writes of how “God, who creates from nothing, omnipotently takes from nothing and says, ‘become’ . . . lovingly adds, ‘Become something even in relation to me’.” (Christian Discourses) Is creation simply about power? No, Kierkegaard sums up: “What wonderful love; even his omnipotence is in the power of love.” 

 This “before God” talk is not about chronology; it’s about intimacy. Paul, speaking to the philosophers on Mars hill, could even say of God that it is “in him that we live, move and have our being”. (Acts 17:28) Imagine that this very day you exist in the very presence of the Creator of every universe, that your every breath is breathed with God closer than the air you breathe. We are so often blind to that. But the great psychologist Carl Jüng put things well on his tombstone:  “bidden or not bidden, God is present”.  That’s something to ponder and praise. Can we not join the God of Genesis in finding this “good” (1:21, 25), indeed “very good”? (1:31) 

But it is not perfect. More of that tomorrow…

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.