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AfterWords | Stepping Into God’s Story (September 11, 2022)

AfterWords is a series of community-contributed reflections intended to further the conversations that begin during Parish sermons.

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A 3-Minute Read
by Lisa Goddard

While my husband Andy and I worked together on a fun little painting project last Sunday afternoon, I reflected on our desire to be “creative.” We poured acrylic paints on small canvases, combining two or three colors, then tilted each canvas in different directions to make a swirl of abstract patterns. The unknown outcome reminded me of a piece in our church message earlier that morning… that the world is God’s ever-changing creation, and we don’t know what might happen from day to day.

I typically think of creation as God’s incredible work described in Genesis 1 (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”), a one-time event. But the sermon Jordan adapted from Rob Bell’s had me pondering something I don’t often consider—God’s story doesn’t end there, and His creation is actually dynamic and constantly evolving.

In his book, The Nature of Creation, Mark Harris says God both created the world at the beginning of time, continues to support and sustain it, and is active in it. Since the world was dependent upon God for its existence in the first place, it continues to be dependent upon God for its continued existence. In other words, there is an ongoing relationship between the created world and its Creator.

I also noted that as God actively works in the world, I am a participant in that change. My activities and interactions are a way to co-labor with God to impact not only the creation story, but as Bell put it, the re-creation story. Heaven will come to earth, and there will be a new creation.

I asked myself, How am I, one individual, actually part of this re-creation process?

Considering Bell’s message, I began to understand that, while I’m not part of that early story in the Garden, I am an extension of that. I can stand in the middle between the original creation and what’s to come by continuing the work of God and helping to steward His creation well.

Whatever I do in my daily life, I am partnering with God. How I partner with Him may draw others into His Kingdom and impact the re-creation story. When I care for my grandchildren with love and compassion, I am reflecting God’s love to them, passing on what I pray will be a continuing legacy of living life with a heart like Jesus. As I sit with friends, listening to their stories and encouraging them, I again shine God’s light. Offering hospitality by inviting others into our home to share a meal is another opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

We all have passions, interests, jobs, and activities that can make a difference for the Kingdom. While it may be difficult to see in a world of uncertainty, in the midst of struggles, or while dealing with the noise of day-to-day life, He’s making all things new. His creation is good, and His re-creation will be amazing.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1–5)

How might you enter into God’s story?

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