“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning – in fact before it – there was God. And after the end there will be God. We live in the middle. In God’s good creation. All we have is from God.
From nothing, from ‘a formless void’, God created. This is a fundamental action of God, the creator. Terrence Freitheim says, “God’s creation is going somewhere; it is a long-term project, ever in the process of becoming”.
It’s a basic belief we share. That, as part of God’s creation, we are going somewhere. God is always at work among us. That wind still blows.
Lord God, guide us through this week in the assurance that as our Creator, you are still forming and shaping us, and our church, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
P.S. Please remember Margaret in the church office, with busy start to the church program year, the Blessing of the Backpacks liturgy this Sunday the 10th, the Almahamid family we sponsored from Syria as their three children begin school in Hamilton, and all the children and youth at Central heading back to school. A special donation was made this week from the Benevolent Fund to purchase back to school supplies for 25 children at the Good Shepherd’s emergency residential centre. Thank you for your generosity in giving to this fund!
Here some resources that I have used in worship, and have found helpful. A work of Christian art, connected to a Scripture reading. These are PDFs, set for printing.
Matthew 6: 19-21 – The 7 Acts of Mercy, Brueghel the Elder, 1559.
Matthew 8: 28-34 – Jesus heals the demoniacs, 14t c. Lower Rhineland Homiliary.
Matthew 14: 22-33 – Disciples See Christ Walking on the Water, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1907.
Here’s a piece by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campollo dissociating themselves from the evangelical movement, first named in the 1930s they argue, and asking instead for an identity tied less to a political party. Calling themselves Red Letter Christians.
it is not easy for us to admit we are not a blameless people.
We trust the promises of politicians,
but have trouble believing the ones you have made.
We find ourselves captive to emotions and lusts which stun us,
but doubt you can save us.
We prefer the shadowy streets of the world,
rather than walking in your Light.
Forgive us, Faithful One.
May the Light of Christ show us your way;
may the Love of Christ overflow from our lives to others;
may the Life of Christ be our model as we seek to be your people.
written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies.http://lectionaryliturgies.blogspot.ca/
Ecclesiastes comes from the Latin transliteration of the name of the author of the book, translated into Greek, which means ‘Gatherer’.
The book is about the ‘gathering’ of wisdom, wealth and happiness.
Book is part of the OT Wisdom Literature.
Written after 450 BCE.
Contains Persian and Aramaic ‘loan words’.
Persian period = economic activity, aided by standard coinage
Major themes are: individuals always push to change their current state (8:8), we all die (3:19), life has a cycle (3:1-8), how every generation must deal with life which they can’t control, God is sovereign in the end (12:12-13).
Key words: Vanity (x38), under the sun (x29), wisdom/wise (x52), man (x47), labor (x36), and evil (x22).
Help from the Book on the Christian life:
- Death is indiscriminate. All are susceptible. The future is not known or controlled by humans. James 4:14, You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. We find that our only help is in God.
- Joy and Sorrow. Our truest gain is in Christ.
- Work and Vocation. Work is toil, but vocation is purpose.
- Knowledge of God
- Knowledge of Self.
Notes taken from the Oxford Annotated Bible and Ecclesiastes (by William B. Brown).