Sermon from August 27, 2017: Practicing Life

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Sermon by Dayna Olson-Getty.

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  • Genesis 1:1-2:4; 4:1
  • Exodus 25:1-9; 35:20 – 36:8a; 40:34-38
  • John 1:1-18
  • Acts 2:1-21
  • Isaiah 65:17-25
  • Revelation 21:1-7; 9-27

Genesis 1 (Slide 1)

God said:

Let there be!

Not because God needed, not because God lacked. Not because God fought or feared.

Because God loved. Because God desired. Because God laughed and played and delighted and made. Beauty, life, a world full to bursting with life begetting more life.

Into the dark and formless void, God spoke, and there was. The light and dark, the solid and liquid, the heat and the cold, the squirming and crawling and swimming and flapping, the orbiting and revolving, the photosynthesizing and the absorbing, the rooted and the winged.

And then the speaking, laughing, delighting creatures, bearing God’s image, held in communion

– created with Creator.

Exodus (Slide 2)

And God said to the image-bearers:

You create!

Let the sanctuary of your belly grow round and taut, full of life. Create with me a child who will live outside your body, just as you live outside of mine. Co-create with me in love, in delight, in joy. And the one you birth will create, and his children will create, and the whole earth will be filled to bursting with beauty and delight and love.

And God said to the created ones:

You make!

Bring your skills, your intelligence, your imagination, your will – and make! Make cloth and carvings, stonework and lamp oil, gold leaf and pillars. Measure and cut, spin and pound, sew and weave, and hammer, design and build.

Make a sanctuary with your own hands, out of the stuff of this earth, and I will dwell there. I will live among you in the midst of this vast and formless desert. In cloud and fire, I will dwell among you. As light and life, I will dwell among you.

John 1 (Slide 3)

But we who were made, are every day unmade. All around us, the world is uncreated faster than we can re-create. And we, the creatures invited to create from the stuff of the earth, to create in love and joy and delight, instead make border walls and bomber drones and prison cells. We make violence and half-truths and safe distances. We make enemies and walls of silence. Our making unmakes God’s making.

So God came to dwell among us, in this bombed-out building of a world. God huddles with us in the dark, in the cold, in the void that has unfolded between us. The One who always was, the One who spoke us into being, the one who loved and desired and laughed and played and delighted and made – this One has come to dwell among us, taking up residence with us in the valley of the shadow of death.

And this One who made all that is, waits with us, in grief, in hope, in groaning expectation.

Acts 2 (Slide 4)

And God says: Receive!

The Uncreated One gathers us, we who are made of the stuff of the earth, we who have scattered and become strangers to each other, like a mother hen gathering up her chicks at dusk. And the Creator breathes on us again the breath of life, and life and light roars up again among us. Together we are knit together – sinew to bone, muscle to skin – into a dwelling place for God, a living, breathing, dancing, weeping, laughing tabernacle for the Uncreated One. We dream dreams. We see visions. We awaken to ancient memories of a world teaming with life, flooded with love. We hold among us the quickening hope of a new creation. We are full to bursting with new creation, like a womb full of child.

Isaiah 65 (Slide 5)

And God declares: I will make all things new!

I will breathe my re-creating, renewing, re-vivifying Spirit into every crack and corner of this dying creation. I will leave no cinder block or garbage heap or hardened heart or abandoned block untouched. I will speak into being new life, and it will spring up from long-dead stumps, from desolate ground, from the unmarked graves of the abandoned.

I will make my home among my created ones. I will dwell among them in beauty and delight and love. And I will be their light and life and love. Once again, we will live in joy-filled communion – Creator with created ones, creature with creature, created ones with created world.

And God says: Come! Co-create this new world with me!

Bring your skills, your intelligence, your imagination, your will. Gather some ink or acrylic paint, gold leaf or embroidery thread. Oak beams or finger paint. Fabric scraps or a lump of clay. Bricks and mulch. Sand, water, paper, chalk.

Imagine something that is not. Look with eyes of a love – dare to see not only what is, but what will be. Dream of a world where joy springs up in the darkest corners. Make spaces for other dreamers. Create beauty that gives witness to my dream of a re-created world. Open your heart to visions of one new people, together giving birth to a new world inside the burnt-out shell of the old. Practice life in the midst of death.

And God says: Come! Co-create this new world with me!

Bear my image. Dream my dreams. Shape my visions with the stuff of the earth, held in your hands, carried in your own body.

My friends, God is inviting us to create – in love, in delight, in joy. God is inviting us to join in God’s joyful work of making all things new. God is inviting us to join in the communion of co-creating and giving witness to the re-creating love of the One who made our world.

Do we dare? Do you dare? [/otw_shortcode_content_toggle]

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