For the past two weeks, our church community has been diving into the creation story in unique ways. Last week, we gathered before worship for a yummy breakfast, and then moved to the gym (our usual meeting place) for an inter-generational worship experience. It was so awesome to see adults and children alike together praising our great God and taking time to steep in the wonders of creation together.
Yesterday’s message centered around the question: “Does the creation narrative tell us anything about who we are and what we’re supposed to be doing?” We considered the idea that creation reflects both the orderliness and extravagance of God. On the one hand, we have a sensible creation process, where each day’s work builds upon the previous. On the other hand, we can look at the created world today and see his excess and extravagance (for example, the millions of species of beetles and fish).
Signs of spring on my walk later that afternoon compelled me to continue mulling over the creation story. I found myself captured by the second verse, where it says “the earth was without form and void.”
The hardest part of any creative endeavor is always the beginning. And yet, in the beginning of God’s creative process, right after he creates the heavens and the earth, we read that the earth is basically what we might term a mess. Unfinished. Formless. Shapeless. Empty. In short, not looking too good.
As a recovering perfectionist and one who finds it hard to begin things for fear of making a mess, I find it extremely encouraging that God would actually go through this same stage in his creative process. Of course, being God, he can already envision the end result. But he is not nearly as hung up on perfection as we are! In fact, Scriptures speak so much more to God’s patience and purpose and his presence than they ever do of perfection. (I use the word “perfection” here in the sense of needing everything to be under control, or perhaps in the sense of fullness and/or completion; I am not implying God’s creation was flawed!)
God could have thrown out a mass of absolute perfection, a fully completed created realm, in a mere blink of an eye. Instead he chooses to begin by making a mess, and it’s out of that mess that he brings forth beauty and order. And he is still at work today, bringing forth his good purposes out of messiness.
Conversation: What about creation has caused you to marvel at the goodness of God lately?
(photo credits courtesy of morguefile.com)
In my last post, I mentioned my very messy game room. I guess that was a “put your money where your mouth is” sort of post, because I got right back on it last week and managed to get the storage room completely back together. Aah, the joy of purging and pitching . . . but I digress.
Once I had everything back on the shelves, I surveyed my work with a sense of satisfaction. Suddenly I recalled the reason I started this project in the first place. My mom gave me a cutting table back in December which I just shoved in the corner of my office. I intend to use it downstairs where I usually sew. But I needed a place to store it out of the way when I’m not using it. Now there’s plenty of space in the storage room for it.
“Well, what are you waiting for, girl? Go get that table.” And so I commenced the fun job of dragging it down the carpeted steps, hoping it would get away from me and that a certain curious little doggie didn’t get tangled up around my feet in the process. “Aah, that’s better.”
And then I remembered why I wanted the cutting table down there in the first place. I have some ideas for sewing projects up my sleeve (and I hate like heck to cut fabric on a card table).
There’s so often a “so that” that gets easily lost in the details, isn’t there? I needed to clean out the storage room “so that” I could move that table downstairs. But the bigger “so that” was about getting set up to sew (and there may be another “so that” lurking behind those innocent sewing projects!) Keeping the “so thats” in view–however big or small– certainly helps keep me moving ahead and I feel like it has the potential to keep my creative outlook fresh and free from becoming encumbered by those very necessary details.
So . . . how do the “so thats” come into play for you? I’d love to know how you keep sight of the bigger picture.
(graphic image utilizes elements from ScrapGirls)