Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Original Good 061911

Creation of Light (illustration by Gustave Doré)

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Trinity Sunday

Genesis 1:1—2:4a

Psalm 8

2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Matthew 28:16-20

 

Genesis 1:1—2:4a

1In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

6And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. 25God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

26Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

29God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

2Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

Psalm 8

1O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

2Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;

4what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

5Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.

6You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,

7all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

8the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

2 Corinthians 13:11-13

11Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. 13The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Matthew 28:16-20

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Original Good 061911

 

Many times in Christian circles, you might hear a discussion of ‘original sin’. This means that there is the belief that in the very beginning, before we even begin perhaps, we are each living in sin, original sin. Sin that is original from our very origins as human souls.

 

Today’s selection from the Old Testament is the very first selection from all of the Bible—Genesis 1:1.  We may be familiar with these verses, but let’s look again at them.

 

In telling the story of the creation of the universe Genesis lists what God did on the first 6 days of reality. We are not told how long or short a day is, but on the first six days, God ‘saw that it was good’ seven times! Seven times the phrase ‘God saw that it was good’ is repeated.

 

In Christianity it is often repeated that the world is profane, and heaven is sacred; that Satan controls the world and God the heavens.  So, our original condition is one of sin, according to what we might hear, as if we were born into sin on this place, and remain in sin until saved and dragged into a heavenly and sin-free existence.

 

But, as we read in Genesis, the opposite is true. God began with the feeling that all this was good. But what God did on the 7th day is just as important. God rested.

 

There are several ways to see that phrase ‘god rested’. One is that he just took a break and sat back, after 6 days of creation work. Another way to see the phrase is that god rested, or God retired, after 6 days. This may mean that God was finished after 6 days and continues to rest while we do what we will with earth. So, everything that has come to pass on earth since creation is our responsibility, since God rests.

 

The message we can get from all this is that God originally saw us as good, and is not mad at us, and has not condemned us from birth to a life of suffering. That suffering is humankind’s own responsibility, with the help of the force called Satan, and it has come to us since creation.

 

God, I believe, still loves his creation and sees it as good. This very idea that God sees us as originally good is amazing, and by itself changes the nature of our life here. We are not born to a life of negativity and negative thinking. We are taught the bad and the negative approach to each other and to life, and this negativity welcomes Satan into our hearts more than anything. We start to feel negative about each other, about the self-chosen conditions of our life, and about God. In response ‘God sees that we are good’.

 

But what are we to do? God created a good place and good people and is still resting on the matter, we might assume. What are we to do to return to that original goodness?

 

Our scripture for today are the last verses of the book of Matthew, Matthew 28: 16-20. Let’s read them again;

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

In context with our discussion of Genesis 1, these verses might be saying that we are to go, and spread the word that God sees the earth as good, and we are to spread the word that Jesus has given us the commandments to return the earth and humankind to goodness. And indeed Jesus has given those commandments. And chief among those rules, Jesus has said is ‘to love one another’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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