(Genesis 1-2:3 and Colossians 1: 15-20)
THIS TALK WAS GIVEN IN SEVERAL PARTS AS AN ALL-AGE SERVICE
Who is this? (First SLIDE)
That’s right – it’s Amanda. (next SLIDE)
Now Amanda isn’t here today… but looking at her photo, we know who it is, her name is Amanda. Can anyone tell me what her full, official name is?
Yep Amanda Jane Hillyard….
But Amanda isn’t just known as Amanda – she has several other names, names that reveal something about her….
- Amanda is married to Paul, she is Mrs Hillyard and so she is a wife.
- Amanda has two children; she is a parent, a mum.
- Amanda also has 4 grandchildren and so she is a Grandma.
- Amanda has lots of family and so she is a sister, aunty, daughter.
- Amanda gets on well with lots of people, know lots of people and so she is a friend and neighbour.
- Amanda helps regularly at the Infants school listening to children read and so there she is Mrs Hillyard to lots of the children.
- Amanda helps us here at church and has just taken on the role of church warden…
Now I could go on, but you get the idea Amanda has lots of different names, names which give glimpses of who she is, her character, her relationship to others, her role.
And the same is true for God – the Bible gives us a whole range of names for God… names which give us glimpses of his character, can you think of any?
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore some of them.
Genesis 1 – 2:3
Today we are starting right at the very start of the Bible – with the story of creation.
So, I’m going to share the story of creation – and as I do so, you’ll see stuck up all around the church today various images, each a different day from creation… as we come to that part, please can you bring it forward and we’ll form a line across the front.
- At first, there wasn’t anything at all – nothing! So God set to work – he didn’t use his hands, or a special machine – rather he spoke, that’s all. He said, ‘I’d like some light’. And there was light… brighter than a summer morning, or a thousand Christmas candles. And the Bible tells us…. It was good.
- God spoke again. He said ‘sky. I’d like some sky, and some water underneath.’ And sure enough, there it was. The bright blue sky, with the heavens above it and the blue-green sea below. And It was good.
- ‘Earth’ that’s what God said next, hard and firm, as if her really meant it. And sure enough, the blue-green waters parted, and there was dry land underneath it. Great patches of it, dirt black and brown. Here and there all over the world. ‘We need some colour’ God whispered, as if he were thinking out loud. And quivering with excitement, green growing things crept right up out of the earth, then burst into blossom, red, orange, blue! Pine trees and palm trees. Rose bushes and blackberry bushes. Tulips and chrysanthemums. And It was good.
- God shouted next ‘Day – shining sun. Night – shining moon. Bright shining stars.’ And there they were, for morning and evening, summer and winter – time and heat and light! And It was good.
- Next God called to the sky ‘come forth flying things’ he cried. And through the clouds they came. Flying large and flying small. Eagles and insects. Hummingbirds and hawks. Then God called to the sea ‘come forth, splashing things’ and they came too, leaping right up through the waves. Sailfish and swordfish, dolphins and trout, great grinning humpback whales. And It was good.
- Finally, god called to the earth. ‘Come forth waling things, crawling things, running, hopping and climbing things!’ And sure, enough they came, up from burrows, down from trees, out of the high grass, and across open plains. And It was good. Now everything was ready – good and ready and so he spoke again, ‘man and woman’ as if he were calling the names of his very best friends. And out of the dust, filled with his breathe, came Adam and Eve – to enjoy all that God had made – to take care of it – and to talk with God. ‘This is the way things ought to be’ And it was very good.
- After all of that, God rested and enjoyed it all.
(Thank everyone for helping… stick pictures on altar-table in the right order…)
So here we have the story of creation – it reveals a supreme being, a creator God.
Now it is really important to recognise that this story isn’t science – it’s not a scientific, textbook, it is not trying to give us a detailed historic account.
Science focuses on HOW questions…like how old is the universe? Or how has life developed?
The Bible focuses on WHY questions: like why am I here? Or why is there good and evil?
The Bible unveils, reveals a personal, loving God, who created each of us, and longs to be in relationship with us.
So, right at the start we find a personal, supreme being, who does two main things…
- The first 3 days tell how God bought form and order, a shape to nothingness.
- Separation of light and darkness, separation of the waters to form the sky and the sea, separation of the sea from the dry land and creation of plants.
- Then we see that God brings fullness
- The creation of the lights to fill day and night, the creation of the birds and fish to fill the sky and sea, and the creation of animals and humans to fill the land.
We see that in the most amazing way, God speaks, and the most creative power is unleashed…. And everything that God creates is good. That is God’s assessment of it all…creation is good. And we know that know, despite the damage, creation is spectacular, surprising, full of wonder.
However, and this is very important, after so much good, God creates humans – the climax of creation…. They are very good. God said, ‘let us make man in our own likeness’. So, God creates male and female, in the image of God he created them. And God said to them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and steward it.’
And this I believe – is incredibly important – first of all, it tells us that God himself is a community – a trinity of Father, Spirit and Son – three people, who relate to one another, and are one. And we are made in the same image for relationship, for friendship, for companionship.
The Bible tells us that people are made in the image of God to join in with the relationship of love that is God himself.
Let me say a bit more –
Within the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Spirit relate to one another, communicate with one another and love one another.
Humans are made to join in this eternal relationship, which has always gone on and will always go on.
God makes human beings unique, creative and special.
Every person has worth and is incredibly valuable to God.
God planned each person sat here today;
He made each one of us, loves each one of us,
cherishes each one of us,
values and affirms each one of us,
infinitely and unconditionally.
There is nothing that any one of us here could do that would cause God to love us more, cherish us more or value us more than he already does.
We also learn that God created each one of us with purpose and identity. Adam and Eve are given identities, roles to fulfil – jobs to do. To care for one another, and to look after creation around them – to care for it and steward it. All of humanity, male and female are God’s representatives and God’s co-workers.
There is much more that could be said but at the heart of this story we meet a God, who is quite simply amazing – beyond comprehension – creative, powerful – a God who created a world with form and order, a creation that is diverse and beautiful, and humanity with purpose and identity.
For now, we’re going to pause here…
Later we have another reading from Scripture which tells us a little bit more about our amazing Creator God.
Song – God you are bigger than BIG
We’re going to stand together now and sing a song which expresses just how amazing our creator God is….
There are some actions – so I ‘ll lead us.
Colossians 1: 15-20
OK – in this reading we are introduced to Jesus and we discover a bit more about our Creator God. This section is a short poem that Paul includes in his letter as he is writing to the church in Colossae.
Jesus, says Paul, is the ‘image of God, the invisible one’. Nobody has ever seen God, but in Jesus he has come near to us and become one of us.
If I’m sat home in my lounge, and there is somebody sitting in the next room, I can’t see them because there’s a wall in the way. But if there is a mirror out in the hallway, I may be able to look out of my door and see, in the mirror, the mirror-image of the person in the next room. In the same way, Jesus is the mirror-image of the God who is there but who we normally can’t see. With Jesus we find ourselves looking at the true God himself.
The great thing about that is that the more we look at Jesus, the more we realise that the true God is the God of utter self- giving love.
This poem reminds us that Jesus was present, working with his father in making the world. It was, and is, his idea, his workmanship. Creation is beautiful, powerful and sweet because Jesus made it like that. When the lavish and generous beauty of the world makes you catch your breath, remember that it is like that because of Jesus.
Now, we know that creation carries a brokenness, an ugliness, a pain and evil. If we’d read further ahead in our story from Genesis earlier, we would have uncovered the account of how sin entered our world and death became a reality.
However, that wasn’t the original intention and the living God has now acted to heal the world of the wickedness and corruption which have so radically infected it. Through Jesus’s death and resurrection God has redeemed all of creation. He has dealt with our sin and brought us peace and reconciliation.
Jesus is the one in whom we are called to discover what true humanness looks like in practice. So often in live we settle for second best, but Jesus summons us to experience the genuine article – and to find an order, a purpose, a beauty and a fulness that God longs for each of us to know.
So, in conclusion, both our passages today reveal a God who is our creator God – a God who is powerful, a God of order and beauty, a God who created humanity in His image.
A God who loves us and longs to be in relationship with us. A God, who through Christ, reaches out to us, and says come meet with me. Come know fulness of life. Amen