To return to the very beginning of scripture and the first moment of time is a jolt in the midst of so much civil unrest and a global pandemic. Perhaps that is the best reason to do it today. When everything around you seems to be crashing in, it helps to remember that God’s plan was that all the things he created would be good, and when we return to the Eden of his making, it will be good again. It’s just this stuff in the meantime that can be so challenging and exhausting.
So let us remember how we started.
Genesis 1 (Contemporary English Version)
In the beginning God
created the heavens
and the earth.
2 The earth was barren,
with no form of life;
it was under a roaring ocean
covered with darkness.
But the Spirit of God
was moving over the water.
Imagine the earth in its barren state. That is a hard image to conjure up. I live in a community that was developed in the ‘60’s by dredging out canals and then slowly building houses on the fingers of land that remained. When we spot old photos of Colington Island, it is amazing to see how pristine it all was, and then experience it now in its fully built-out state. While it is still quite beautiful, Colington has certainly changed since it was chartered in the late 1600’s.
In the beginning, it was good.
3 God said, “I command light to shine!” And light started shining. 4 God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness 5 and named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Evening came and then morning—that was the first day.
The creation narrative continues through each day with plants, animals, and eventually humans being added. Each time, God stops and declares the day’s work to be “good.”
When was the last time you completed a day’s work and declared it to be good? I can’t ever remember going to bed with a feeling that I had actually finished something, much less declared it to be good. That is the nature of life. That is the nature of ministry. It is messy. It can be unforgiving. And it is always filled with unfinished business. Things get moved from today’s to-do list to tomorrow’s to-do list and so forth and so on. If we were honest, we would write out a to-don’t list and call it a day.
I don’t think God wants us to feel this way. I think Genesis is written to teach us about the work-sabbath relationship, and to set an example of working hard, realizing the value of your day’s effort, marking it good, and then ending the week with an appropriate sabbath rest.
1 So the heavens and the earth and everything else were created.
2 By the seventh day God had finished his work, and so he rested. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it special because on that day he rested from his work.
Maybe there is a connection here. When was the last time you had a bonafide, honest to GOODness rest? When have you fully and completely allowed yourself a day of sabbath, with no work, no chores, no projects, no running errands….have you ever?
God’s work ended with a full day of rest. This was after six days of creating the entire known world.
Take a break, people. If the creator of the universe can carve out a day of downtime, so can you.
And THAT will be good.