From One Many, From Many One
The stories we tell shape our lives.
For a long time, we were taught the Creation Story in the Bible in a particular way. We were told God created everything that exists from nothing (creatio ex nihilo). If we pause for a moment, we can see how this one teaching has influenced so much of our culture, our way of thinking:
If God created something from nothing, then God is not bound by the rules of the physical universe. God has “supernatural” powers that can be used to grant blessings to “His” followers (somehow, this view of God is almost always given male pronouns), and those same powers can be used to punish “His” enemies. This immediately establishes a hierarchy among humans: People who can get us in God’s good favor become the people who are worthy of our money, our devotion, our time. So the whole human project becomes a question of power…who gets to wield the power of the Almighty God…and how can we wiled that power to smite our enemies?
BUT…as it turns out…when we read the story for ourselves…it does not say that God magically created everything out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo). instead, we read that God created all that is from some pre-existing, primordial substance (creatio ex materia).
“At the beginning of God’s creating of the heaven and earth, when the earth was wild and waste, darkness over the face of Ocean, rushing-spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters…” Genesis 1: 1-2 (translated by Everett Fox)
There was already an earth…it was “wild and waste.” There was already an ocean, and God’s “rushing-spirit” hovered over its face…shrouded in darkness. In the actual story in our Bible, God does not work magic to create things that never existed…God speaks them into being…God calls to them…God’s call is compelling enough to bring light out of the deepest darkness, and to separate the light from the dark. God called for sky to separate the waters, and God called the waters to recede…making room for dry land. God spoke and single-celled organisms began gathering and collecting and evolving until there was a world teeming with life. God does not create humans so they can vie for power and fight for control of God…God creates everything that is…all the many…from one common source…for one common purpose. To create something new together.
As our understanding of God is changing, so is our world…so is our culture…so is our church.
We are partners in God’s creation. While we are all unique, none of us has privileged access to God’s mind. We have actually discovered that it is only through gathering in community that we are capable of even guessing what God might be doing…the the more diverse our gathering, the more we seem to understand.
We are the throws of stewardship season, and with the holidays fast approaching, everyone’s time is scarce and everyone is asking for our money. As a church, we simply remind one another that we are called together…called to create…to support…to discern what God is calling into being next.
If you would like to be our partners in this work, we have plenty of pledge cards waiting for you, and plenty of opportunities to gather and work throughout the week.
Peace and Grace is with you,