Let the Earth bring forth | Genesis 1:14-25
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:14-25 | ESV
“To go out to walk slowly in this wood – this is a more important and significant means to understanding, at the moment, than a lot of analysis and a lot of reporting on the things ‘of the spirit.’” So mused Thomas Merton on a crisp March morning in 1966. The Genesis story is at grass roots an invitation not to wrestle with ontological possibilities and debates of origins – it’s an invitation to step into and interact with a creation that is yet “good” even if clearly compromised with some dominant strains of harsh and unexplainable brutality. To step into creation is to be exposed to some potentially mixed messages, to be sure, but one clear message surrounds us: we are surrounded by incredible diversity in color, shapes, and textures in creation. However else we might describe the Creator, he’s not boring. The Creator has given birth and continues to give birth to incredible variety. But how inclined we are towards monotony and sameness! Someone recently asked me what the difference was between the artificial colors of our billboards and signs and the natural palette of a tree line. Comparing the horizon of the Strip in Las Vegas and the horizon of the Sequoias in California, all I could say was, “All the flashy colors of our billboards and signs are visual noise rather than beauty for the simple reason that they seek to agitate and stir up desire in us to ‘bite’ on their agenda; they sow unrest into our spirit. The diverse beauty of nature seeks nothing from us and has no agenda for us other than to deposit wonder into our souls.”
When have you been most impacted by the beauty of creation? Describe the scene and its effects on you.
God, draw me into the beauty of your world, and through it into the beauty of your heart. Through Jesus.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.