Reflection on Creation: “Heaven and Earth”

Genesis 1: 1-31


There you have it—a Biblical story from Genesis told over the ages. It’s a great story, and I love the way it really comes alive in this version…. “God spoke… and there it was… and it was good.”


This Biblical story is one way of explaining how the universe came to be—the way that most of us have grown up with. Traditional sacred stories of Indigenous peoples, like those telling of Turtle Island or Sky Woman do the same thing.


Any story may or may not be true—in all or in part. Regardless, a story points to something. And in the case of creation stories, they point to a truly awesome and mysterious unfolding process of creation through the work of a “greater power.” For us, that greater power is the Spirit of God.


Science too has brought awe and amazement to the creation story. The Big Bang Theory today is the leading explanation of how the universe started. It is based on extensive scientific and mathematical calculations and discoveries. According to this theory, the universe began as a very hot super force (10 billion degrees Fahrenheit—by NASA’s calculations). It was a soupy mix of four fundamental particles that decayed or combined as the universe got cooler. Over the next 13.8 billion years, the particles developed into the expansive cosmos we know today. (Interestingly enough, science has found that, light was the first element to appear out of the soupy mixture; just as in the Biblical story.)


For us, God is not left out of the Big Bang Theory of creation. Science and religion are beginning to come together. We are now guided to believe that at the birth of our universe, God materialized and revealed himself through his creation. The start of the cosmos marks the First Incarnation of God—the first revelation or physical presence of God in our world.


(As a post script—a PS, The Second Incarnation of God happened in Bethlehem two thousand years ago in the person of Jesus and he lived his life to reveal the nature of God and show us how to live.)


True, the Time of Creation does present an opportunity to reflect on stories and theories about the beginning of our universe. But it is more than that. Bruce Sanguin, a respected ordained minister, speaker, and writer for over 30 years, explains that “It is a time to realize and celebrate that we live within a miracle, and are biologically and spiritually kin with all creation on this Earth community.”

He goes on to say, “We need to realize that we are indebted to our created planet and her species for their gift of the huge amounts of energy we derive from her for our daily functions, let alone extravagant consumption. We need to be grateful.“


In researching for this service, I came across some fascinating reflections on nature and creation from highly respected religious scholars and teachers—way too many to share! So, I’ll just give you a little potpourris of some.

·        God is saving creation and bringing all creatures back where they began—into union with their Creator. God loves everything that He has made. All created things God proclaimed “good”

·        Nature could be considered the primary Bible. As Paul in Romans says, “What can be known about God is perfectly plain, for God has made it plain. Ever since God created the world, God’s everlasting power and deity is there for the mind to see in the wonder of all the things God has created.”

·        In the ministry of Jesus, creation plays a major role.

-      In his teachings about life and relationships He commonly referred to examples from creation (like the lilies, a hen, the fig tree, birds of the air, grass in the field). He was clearly looking at the seemingly “non religious” world, ordinary things all around him, so that listeners could relate.

-      Also, it appears that he did most of his teaching outdoors.

·        One of the Saints—Hildegard of Binden, spoke of “the greening of things from within.” She knew that there was a readiness in plants to receive the sun and to transform it into energy and life (photo synthesis).  And she saw that we too, are meant to do that: to receive the SON and make a connection that translates into inner energy calling you to “Become who you are; become all that you are created to be.”

·        Creation is not a mere scenic backdrop so humans can take over the stage. All of creation is in fact a full participant in the drama of human life and transformation


A lovely song O Beautiful Gaia provides further reflection.The term “Gaia” represents Mother Earth. The song speaks of Mother Earth calling us to live into our care and respect for all creation. It asks us to consider our relationship to the earth in the context of our faith—a place of home together as a family of God.



Matthew 6: 25-34 “Don’t Worry”

In the context of a creation-themed service, Matthew 6:25–34 with its “lilies of the field and the birds of the air”, offers a helpful lens to focus our thoughts. This is because of two things:

-        in part because of the sense of awe it invokes towards creation;

-        but also because it addresses another underlying concern: anxiety or worry.

In thinking about “worry,” a little ditty from years ago, popped into my head. Remember the song, Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin?  In it he says:

In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy now

Good advice! But how do we do that?

Here’s a little story to illustrate one person’s answer to that. It’s about a carpenter who was hired by a woman to restore her old farmhouse

The fellow had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.

While she drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited
her in to meet his family. As they walked toward the front door, he paused
briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked the woman to the car. They passed the tree and she asked him about what she had seen him do earlier.

'Oh, that's my trouble tree,' he replied 'I know I can't help having troubles each day, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children.. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them.

Then in the morning I go by to pick them up; and …  'Funny thing is, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.'

Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 hold worry or anxiety and awe in dynamic tension. Awe, wonder, and radical amazement are natural spiritual resources for overcoming worry. We can find inspiration and renewal for our daily lives, by paying attention to, and celebrating the awesome wonder of creation.


That is to say that awe can be an antidote to anxiety, worry—even frustration, unforgiveness and anger.  (An antidote is a medicine used to counteract a particular poison. And those negative emotions do poison our souls.)


Awe is one antidote, but even greater antidote for worry/anxiousness is the antidote of turning to God: “Seek first God’s kingdom.” In other words, when you have challenges in your life, don’t fret about them. Instead, put God in charge, trusting that he will work for you in meeting your needs and solving your problems.

“Let go, and let God” as one phrase puts it; (rather than another phrase commonly heard, “God helps those who help themselves”).

As a closing note, here’s something I read that really made me stop and look at myself and how I handle things.


If you are gripped by anxiety over things that come up in your life, you have lost sight of the greatness of life. Life was not given primarily for physical pleasures, but for something greater — the enjoyment of God. Life was not given primarily for the approval of others, but for something greater — the approval of God. Life was not even given primarily for fullness of life on this earth, but for something greater — eternity with God in the age to come. Anxiety shows that we are too close to the world and too far from God.                        Hmmm! But the good news is that God is always there to help me refocus; and it will be a forever process!


The best reason to stop being anxious is that when you do, God starts being anxious in place of you. That doesn’t mean that the situation or problem just goes away—poof! Rather, it becomes less burdensome, because you are confident that God is there with you. He is always ready to help you through anything if you will let Him. You are never alone—that belief is the key point in a creed of the United Church of Canada.