Friday, 9 November 2018

No Strings Attached....?

"Jesus replied, 'it isn't the healthy that are in need of a physician, but those who are sick - I have not come to arouse or  invite those who deem themselves to be righteous to a remedy for sin, but those who know they err and are seeking change'". Luke 5: 31, 32 (expanded).

The divide could not have been any wider.
There I was, sitting in a carriage reading a sign that stated 'the best things in life are fee free', encouraging me to use their free wi-fi, whilst the connecting page for this service on my tablet was demanding payment.

How often do we make Christianity like that.
We say we can freely come and partake of God's mercy, but no sooner are we over the threshold than we're presented with a barrage of increasing tariffs (quite literally in respects to money in many churches) and by-laws that demand what we really cannot give, because all we have is us - the mess that drew us to what we hoped would be unmerited mercy in the first place*.

Jesus, of course, is on a different page. The passage above tells us exactly where we are - the sick - and what we need - Him; no ifs or buts or small print. God's astonishing mercy and astounding loving kindness is indeed deep and full and wide.

But wait, comes the cry, what about our repentance? Isn't that what we do - what we bring to the table to receive?

Steve Paulson, in his introductory work on Martin Luther notes how the reformer spent much time dwelling on that, and he came to realize something imperative about repenting.

Repentance was nothing more than the putting of the old sinner to death and allowing Christ to raise the dead to new life. The important thing to note, however, is that it is Christ alone who makes us the subject of that work of God's Spirit, that it is God who does the deed... we are entirely acted upon by God in His mercy, not the ones who are acting at all. In other words, any faith or repentance we bring is God's gift, not something we can "do" ourselves.

There's a really important truth here.
Religion always causes us to fall back 'into ourselves', seeing something we've done (our faith or our repentance) as the doorway into blessing, but in truth we're like those in hospital, perhaps miserable at the fact that we have to be here, but understanding that the treatment is entirely necessary if we're to be made well.
The good news is that the hospital also turns out to be a banqueting hall, where we are freely invited, constantly, to come and dine at the table of grace, purely because of love for us, and that is what overshadows our past, present and future.

It's not our diagnosis or resolutions that change a thing.
It's not what we bring to the table, impoverished and miserable,
It's what has been made ours in Jesus Christ alone that heals us, clothes us, feeds us and cherishes us.

God's goodness and love are simply astonishing.
Our seeking to corner and contain that gift into something we want to define by our own religiousness is nothing short of terrifying.

We need to come to His love and care and find the remedy.

Christianity is that, or it is an empty and dangerous thing.

*A really helpful sermon on this can be found here. Have a listen to Joe Dent's message on Titus 2, given on the 4th of November, 2018.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Under the Sun

Are you defined by what you do, by surviving another day, by endeavoring to build something worthwhile with the sand grains of tide and time?  This is a superb and sobering analysis of what we do and the dangers of being defined by that.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Consider...

"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it". Jesus (Mark 8:35).

Yesterday, whilst walking home from work, I noticed a Thrush perching on a branch in windy conditions that appeared way too weak to hold its weight.

Initially I found myself thinking 'goodness, what amazing confidence that bird must have to rest in a such precarious spot', but quickly dismissed the thought as I reminded myself that the confidence I assumed wasn't required at all - this creature, should it slip or begin to fall, had wings, which meant at any moment it could soar off into the air and quickly find somewhere else to perch.

It's 'confidence' came from the fact that it was a creature used to something I could only imagine - experiencing the world through the gift of flight.

I found this left me pondering about what should be 'natural' to all of us.

There's been much discussion and debate at large recently (as I noted in a prior posting) about the value and place of our religious propensities in life - are these just a mistake, or are they indeed pointing to a deep truth and reality about our existence that we need to notice and consider in the kind of way I was thinking about the nature of the bird. Does what lies deep inside of us tell us that we can so easily miss the moment when we should be able to encounter the world in a completely fresh and life-changing way?

I was fascinated this week to discover a new video that seeks to unpack the second part of a trilogy of highly provocative films - Terrance Malik's Knight of Cups. The philosophical analysis examines how easily we can loose ourselves in our world by becoming enveloped and overwhelmed by the sensual and the transitory at the expense of unpacking our true nature and significance.

What fascinates about this analysis, and Malik's recent movies, is that they are pointing to the fact that in the human condition, this simply destroys us - it leaves us adrift, like the main character in this film, occasionally registering that there's something more we need to pursue, but essentially powerless to do more than to feel that there's a truth there that troubles us.

Recent dark web materials have been registering this same issue. Yes, there may well be a greater intelligence that us. Yes, there may be some form of consciousness after death. Yes, there may even be some purpose behind all of this.

So, what does "religion" answer to that?

Jesus' statement above is deliberately bold and shocking.
He claims that not only is this loss of ourselves a palpable reality that so readily overcomes us, but that true identity, true purpose and meaning are defined by Him, and it's by coming to terms with His character and purpose (the Gospel) that we can escape our inherent lack of place and become who we are meant to be - we can gain the ability to see the world anew.

That's why the truth claim at the heart of Christianity isn't about what we can or cannot do - it's about what another can do for us, making us whole and showing how all those things we suspect to be true are actually true, and we can have confidence in that truth.

Malik's movie shows how we in ourselves so easily fail, but also that the love that is given to us doesn't change, and the struggle and the suffering is worthwhile if it leads us to understand that astonishing truth.

Consider what is going on beneath the futile, the temporary, the moment. The light of that care, that grace, is never far away.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Not just pretense (Looking for beauty in dereliction)

"This is a pleasant fiction".
Lucilla - Gladiator

I'm sorry I haven't been posting much of late, but I've been going through the harsh reality of facing possible redundancy from work this month, and I'm still none the wiser at present as whether I'm being kept or not, so weeks of uncertainty are, as you can imagine, not making the everyday things particularly easy.

Yesterday, I attended a farewell meal for my manager, who has been made redundant already, and it was a pretty awkward affair. On the surface, my work associates sought to be pleasant even merry, but just below the chuckles and smiles, there was far deeper truths in play regarding anxiety and frustration, fear and pain. It was there in some of the freer statements made as well - truth beneath the surface.

It made me ponder about how much spirituality comes into the same realm. How often do we go 'through the motions' of projecting what is deemed as acceptable in our 'ministry' (mailings, messages, worship) as Christians as a way to avoid people touching on the deeper truths or troubles within?

In the song of songs, we read how the lovers revel in foods, perfumes and spices to adorn their love play, but this is never a problem because of two vital things the story shows. The man loves the woman in her wild natural beauty (see chapter 4) and she cannot live without him (chapter 5), so everything else merely feeds into the depths of their longing for the other, enhancing what is genuinely present at the core of their affections.

In this story, then, we truly encounter a love that cannot be dulled or assuaged by trial or times when they are far apart, even death is deemed small before the strength of their passion. What happens, however, when such vitality is absent and all there is to feed our busyness is the peripheral  - the things we deem to adorn our belief and practice become paramount at the expense of putting aside the gifts and affection God provides to us in Christ in His Word and Sacraments?

We love Him because He loved us, but that primacy of God's love isn't merely seen in some conjectured exchange we think occurs because we "do" something (however "spiritual" we consider what we're doing at such a moment to be) - it's purely because His nature, His deepest desire, His entire sphere of actions towards us is to convey, express and unite us with the love that brought Him to us in the midst of our misery and sin. That and that alone is what saves us, holds us, brings us home. It is the Father running to us, adorning us in such affection, reveling in our safe return that makes His word our sure hope, His offering up our certain life, His union to us our full assurance. What we do, all we do, is become recipients of such unmerited, overwhelming mercy and grace.

We should therefore rest in Christ's astonishing giving of this love, and only find solace there - as His word and table and our union in baptism confirm. If our practice, our expression of Christianity becomes about the cosmetics of what we have done or say - because we 'made a decision', made a public witness, made a fair show of ourselves, we are 'doing' something worthy of merit or spiritual commendation - then we can find ourselves easily heading for the folly of self righteousness. Expression of service, we are warned on various occasions, can be entirely empty unless this springs wholly from the life God the Father so ravishes us with in the pouring out, for us, of His beloved - that is the life, the fragrance, the beauty, that we all so need to have.

It is so very easy in our times to miss what truly counts and hold on to what leaves us less.

These lines by Thomas Merton touch upon the essence of what scripture is seeking to reveal:

For, like a grain of fire
Smoldering in the heart of every living essence
God plants His undivided power —
Buries His thought too vast for worlds
In seed and root and blade and flower,

Until, in the amazing shadowlights
Of windy, cloudy April,
Surcharging the religious silence of the spring,
Creation finds the pressure of its everlasting secret
Too terrible to bear.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

The Point

"The Post-modern has adopted the idea that there is no such thing as meaning"  Martin Robinson - The Faith of the Unbeliever.

So, it has proved to be a season of debates.

I myself have watched several in the past month via Social Media, and they all verify one key theme of our times - the world (world-system) is as lost as it ever was.

Certainly, there are more folds and wrinkles now in the philosophical 'fabric' of the current culture, but the dark heart of human meaninglessness - so common to every era of our existence - still resides at the core of this tragic world of ours; it's merely a case of that reality being at least in measure acknowledged by some.

Nothing about us has really changed, (move over Bob Dylan - these lyrics cut to the chase) including a seemingly bottomless capacity to lie to ourselves about what really counts. Post-modernism may tend to obscure the nature of the discussion, but when the likes of Douglas Murray speaks of 'preferring' the old religions to the present chaos and then goes on to poignantly state the resurrection never happened, it tells you exactly where secularism lands us.

The truth is that aside from a few nods of the kind just referred to, the West has become predominantly post-christian as it pursues its 300 plus year old quest to allow what it defines as 'reason' to hold full sway as some magic bullet that will finally kill our need for the folly of God, but it must do so whilst dismissing all prior modern attempts at social change as ill-placed or poorly done, even though some of its voices clearly contend with such a diagnosis.

The myth at the core of so much of the current conversation is that science came about to replace the stories and misconceptions of reality that were being propagated beneath the panacea of religion, but that simply is not so.

The Enlightenment, which came much later than the scientific revolution of the 1500s, qualified our 'objectivism' by a very old form of defining what was true and what was not (see Romans 1:18-23), and the 'empiricism' this has lead to is riddled with pit falls that are deadly (interesting to see this in a recent discussion between Dr Hugh Ross and Dr Peter Atkins. Atkins spends a great deal of his time conceiving of 'what ifs' and total conjecture in regards to the material universe, where Ross seeks to principally tie his theological insights to observable, verifiable data, yet Ross is presenting the theological world-view).

The gift of modern rationalism is that it has made us orphans in a meaningless, entirely material universe, with no worth or value, to quote Sam Harris, beyond the moment you currently inhabit - that is all you really have. The basis of this tower of rationality is the supposedly unassailable creed of naturalism that verifies, via natural selection, as interpreted by Darwin, this world view.

Therein lies the problem.
If we accept the understanding such suppositions provide - that there is no 'horizon' beyond a very fleeting and essentially purposeless and accidental existence, how do we derive any sense of meaningful purpose, any sphere of values from that? If the universe is in effect a meaningless mistake, why would anything we do really count?

The question becomes entirely relevant when we encounter anything that makes us aware that naturalism may not be as comprehensive or as correct as it claims, or we experience something that causes us to consider the possibility of the transcendent, the second of these interlocking with a very deep and real longing within. This is why Christianity speaks of the notions of our secular world as being a negation of something we all inherently know to be true.

The vital criticisms of naturalism's presumptions are many, and are essential in the current discussions.
If we make the sole reason for our being here nothing more than the conclusion that nothing actually matters, then we become nothing more than accidental participants in a brief 'blip' on meaninglessness - the universe. If, however, we take Paul's argument in 1 Corinthians 15 concerning the life and purpose of Jesus Christ as historical (and the cornerstone of his argument here is that it was), then life and death are not the only truths we have to face - there is a far greater value to who and what we are.

The question we all must face is are we willing to concede that life is just a fluke or that there is much more going on. That is where, fully aware of the debate, we need to begin.





Sunday, 30 September 2018

"Safety"?

"They say there's a place for those who are good
With it's pearly gates swinging wide open
The rest of us here are just knocking on wood
Quietly, piously hoping".  Elysium by Mary Chapin Carpenter.


Security cameras were installed last week at the site office not far from me, as two neighbors eagerly informed me how they'd 'watched' me walking home a couple of times on their own new camera systems.

All part of being one the most surveyed populations I guess.

Such 'security' has reached pandemic levels. 

In China,they are busily installing a.i. systems that will allow every single person to be identified by facial recognition across the country.

When millions of Face Book accounts fall prey to another attack, or the NSA engage embedded malware, or the next financial crash shakes the world to its knees, well, at least we'll feel secure behind our cameras.

Such notions of peace and safety are hollow, because they ignore or perhaps excuse the miserable estate in each of us.

Anyone familiar with the Milgram research of the 60s or Marina Abramovic's terrifying 'Rhythm zero' performance experiment in 1974 will know just how vile and insecure we really are - there is an inner sickness that, when prompted, will bring out the worse in most of us. With dreadful ramifications.

We look through our surveillance systems, our social media and our tablets and phones, and make our judgements and act accordingly, but the poison we so often deem as evidently seen in others is blindly ignored in our own veins.

We think we're the ones who 'are good' - safe in our own conceits and contrivances... fit for those heavenly gates via our piety and purity.

We're simply not.

Surety must rest in a grace, a mercy, beyond the swamp of our egotistical devisings.

We're as incomplete as the observations we so readily make about pretty much everything - as blind as someone, holding a tail of some creature, thinking that's what defines the whole.

Partial truth is a murderous lie. Poison that makes us focus only on what we think at the expense of so very much more.

God is certainly watching us. Playing our games of peace and safety with the blades, ever ready, behind our backs. He felt the full death of our malignant evil, and gave all in return, that we might see His kindly face, in spite of our cruelty.

His grace is the only sure gift, certain hope, enduring love that can free us from our own 'security'.

By Christ alone, we are made free.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Days that Make Us

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". Genesis 1:1.

This year brought an opportunity to re-visit the opening chapters of the book of Genesis with a study group. Last night, we commenced part 2 of these studies with a re-cap by me reading a piece I wrote which sparked the whole project off, so I thought it might be useful to also post it here for a wider audience. Hope it proves helpful.



I don’t know if I have a particular favourite place, but there are several I enjoy, and there are particular locations I like to stand when in these spots, because of the view they allow me to appreciate.



The same is true when it comes to theology.



There’s a very telling conclusion to the opening account of the origin of the material realms.
In summation of all that had been shown in the preceding verses, the writer concludes “these 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” (Genesis 2:4).

We tend to think of the opening chapter of Genesis and its outline of the act of creation a great deal in regards to seven days, but this summation (speaking of all that had occurred as a ‘day’) quickly asks us to argue with an interpretation of this which would seek to be literal in only the most elementary of fashions – seven 24 hour periods.

The reasons for this are many, but the first has to do with the fact that the ‘generations’ of this astonishing work do not begin with the arrival of light or of day, but deep in the folds of those times referred to in the opening two verses of the account. Here we read of a primordial knitting of things, a brooding of God Himself upon the elemental nature and ‘void’ of what would be before the generating Word can be spoken.

This is common to other creation passages in the scriptures.
The closing address of the Lord to Job (Chapters 38-41) grants us a breathtaking look into the magnitude of the endeavour the Lord was engaged upon as He prepared those first works of the created order – the laying of the world’s foundations, the binding of the seas, through knowing the recesses of the deep. All of this was in motion as His Spirit prevailed upon the first, “formless” estate of the heavens and earth.

How long did this elaborate preparation take?
The church fathers are quite helpful here.
Augustine for example notes how what is provided in the main text of Genesis 1 is a record of "heaven & earth when day was made" - clearly something distinct from what is spoken about in Genesis 1:1-3. He also notes, in the six days of creation, how what we understand as the normal measurements of day - morning and evening - are different (they begin the other way around, evening and morning, and that the light of that creation does not clearly become the sun itself – probably because of the initial condition of the earth - until the fourth day).

"The Beginning", notes Basil, is not yet time in the sense defined from verse 4 onwards. Creation, notes Gregory, springs into being from that beginning, hence the transition from void to existence as something given true form, place and purpose. The beginning occurs, notes Augustine, 'in that ever-present eternity', which itself speaks to us of creation's existence outside of the confines of time. In that place (the residence of God Himself), nothing spoken by the Word vanishes or diminishes.


In the light of such considerations, any attempts at a naturalistic cosmology will always be provisional at best. We may be able to place age ‘tags’ on materials used in the process of creation, but the ages involved here, as the church Fathers suggest, are no doubt far more (in depth and scope) than we can fully comprehend. This is clearly the nature of what the Lord is seeking to reveal to us in his words about this to Job.

It is the Lord who profoundly and mysteriously makes such powers and forces, who would stretch out the expanse of the heavens by His great wisdom and understanding, that draws our attention, as we approach the first day, away from the vast stretch of what would become the realm of the stars to the world that would become our home.

We have marvelled at the expanse and the beauty of the cosmos, but that very awareness and realisation points us back, down from the stars, to the fact that in ourselves, we find probably the strangest enigma of all – creatures who inhabit a world perfectly set in place to allow a staggering diversity of life in an ordered environment, who not only comprehend such splendour, but also possess an identity which causes us to enquire and study the nature of what we are and what facilitates all of this.

Science has allowed us to understand that our universe indeed had a beginning and, because of the nature of interplay between entropy and energy, would almost certainly conclude, in respects to natural processes, in a material end, but in spite of numerous unsatisfactory attempts, we are still at a loss to explain by materialistic means the astonishing origin and purpose of life beyond the merely functional, which says essentially nothing regarding the truly mind-boggling nature of realms such as consciousness, the elaborate nature of structure and beauty in nature beyond function, or the virtually miraculous nature of the properties of energy. Scientists who are working in new fields (such as the physics of information) are aware that these intriguing realms have a reality just as vital to the natural as, for example, the physics of energy, but the ramifications, as in the sphere of Quantum Mechanics, are indeed profound, and may ultimately support a growing scientific view that information preceded the material, and that this indeed points to mind and purposeful intent in the formation of the universe.

Science, in spite of recent opinions to the contrary, has indeed already provided us confirmations regarding the nature of our existence that are incontrovertible.
The discoveries made in astronomy from the 1920’s onward by Hubble, Penzias, Wilson, and others, justify the conclusion reached by Astronomer Robert Jastrow - the essential elements in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.He also noted that after scaling the heights of research, Science has reached a summit only to discover that the theologians were already at the top, revelation being first to bring us to the same vital conclusion – we are the handiwork of God.

It is within the realm of theological material that we also find what essentially relates to the pattern of the structure of creation. Genesis 1:1 distinguishes this glorious work between three realms – the ‘heavens’ (the cosmos itself, but also the realm of heaven, where God resides) and the earth.


We very rarely make note of the fact that the domain deemed ethereal and therefore unreal by many – the location where all the hosts and creatures spoken of as being around the throne of God – is actually part of the very same work of creation as the stars, the earth and the vast diversity of life upon earth, but this is the case. Once again, this unfolding of the true nature of what was made in the formation of the heavens and earth seeks to point us back to a deeper reference point than what we currently can see and therefore perceive, and with good reason, for as we look deeper, we are invited to discover the true source and intent within the work of creation itself, as provided in the book of Proverbs:

“The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the deeps broke open and the clouds drop down the dew” (3:19,20). An observation of the union between heaven and earth.

Solomon here alludes to something truly profound. Whilst ‘knowledge’ is the means whereby the Lord implements the very cycles which will perpetuate an environment to allow for life to be sustained on earth, the entire creation is underpinned not simply by a working employment of the knowledge of quantum or Newtonian physics via the most elaborate mathematics, but something far greater – a wisdom


This is again expressed in greater detail in Proverbs chapter 8.

“The Lord possessed (raised/owned) me in the beginning of His way,
before His acts of old. I was set up (ordained) from everlasting,
before the earth was.

When there were no depths, I was established, before there were fountains
laden with waters,
Before the mountains and the hills, I was there, before He had made the earth, or fields,
or the first from the earth’s dust.

When He prepared the Heavens, I was there. When He drew a circle upon the face of the deep and stretched out the firmament over it. When He established the skies above and secured the fountains of the deep, giving the sea its limit, appointing the foundation of the earth, then I was beside Him as a master and director of the work, and I was His daily delight, rejoicing, as the earth was inhabited and delighting in the sons of men”.

(Chapter 8:22-31).

It’s common for us to look upon wisdom as merely an attribute (something we have or don’t), but what Solomon seeks to express (for example, by personifying this quality amidst the book of Proverbs – see chapter 1:20-33, 9:1-12) is that at the very core of establishing what has been made, God has employed a foresight and skill (a crucial part of Himself) which brings a security and purpose to creation which will endure and thereby bring into being the true intent in such design.
This is clearly the theme of the Prophet Jeremiah, when he echo’s Solomon’s words of chapter 3 amidst an address to Israel on the folly of following other gods who are entirely inept and impotent in comparison to the great intents and deeds of the one true God  (Jeremiah 10:12).

It is what God intends that is the heart of the issue in all of the creation accounts, for in all of them, we find expressed a seeking to convey an understanding of the magnificence and splendour of what He is about, not only in the vastness of what has been made, but equally in the purposes of this – to allow us to comprehend who is behind the canvas

Psalm 104 also returns to these themes.
The writer seeks to point us to the witness of God’s majesty and splendour by looking at the magnificence of creation. He speaks of it as a garment in which the Lord has wrapped Himself and displayed the true weight and wonder of His character. All we see, he states, is seeking to show us something of the greatness of the mind and hand behind such beauty, power, and sustained, vast diversity. The Psalm underlines that these are His works, not ours and certainly not the consequence of chance or folly. They are created for His good pleasure, and they are intended to turn our eyes and minds to the greatness of their source, that we might indeed, like the Psalmist, be truly astonished by what we find.

All of these creation accounts speak of the almost fundamental nature in what was made of “the waters”. In Genesis 1, they appear to be twinned with the primordial elements of darkness and void, and in the other passages, they are evidenced as a force needing to be bound or tamed.

This image is indeed fitting. The waters would teem with life, but it is highly significant that the life which would become ‘soulish’ in its purpose was to first appear in a realm not defined ‘watery’, but as dry land – the earth.
Our current turbulent world may reflect best all the fluidity and uncertainty of a liquid environment – particularly in respect to how the very earth itself shakes and cannot hold – but the fact that we are to inhabit something more substantial than the sea resonates also with the other great truth we have touched upon – that beneath the waters, beneath the “storehouses”, beneath all that has been established in the present, is a true foundation which cannot be moved.

What was set-up, ordained, or established before the beginning is the true foundation of what is made – a rock which cannot be shaken or ever removed. This is the truth that the Psalmist considers in Psalm 93:

“The Lord Reigns.
He is robed in majesty. He has garbed Himself with strength.
The world is fully established. It shall not be moved.
Your throne is everlasting from of old.
You are from everlasting”.

Here we see a joining of the idea of the world established to reflect and express something of the permanence of the reign and authority of God.
This is particularly noteworthy in the light of what comes next.

“The floods have lifted up, O Lord.
The waters have lifted their voice.
Mighty is the thunder of their noise”.

The waters, we are told, are roaring in unbounded force, awesome and terrible, but this is not the beginning (what had preceded this fury), and it is not where the writer ends.

Look further, look deeper, and see what is true.

“Mightier than these waves of the sea – The Lord on high, He is mighty!
Holiness befits His house, for evermore”.
As we look at the vast swirl of the cycles of creation, we need to see beyond the merely immediate or even the energetic processes beneath the visual array and perceive what marvel has truly been placed above and beneath its changing face.

“So says the Lord God:
‘Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion
a stone, tried and tested,
precious, a cornerstone,
and a sure foundation.

The refuge of lies will then be swept away”.

The Prophet continues –
“The waters will overwhelm the shelter…
 an overwhelming scourge will pass through,
 and you will be beaten down before it”.

(Isaiah 28:16, 17, 18).

Whilst judgement changes us and our world, such actions occur in reference and regards to what has been established and cannot be removed – the foundation that Solomon defined as wisdom, the ‘rock’ or stone Isaiah sees which breaks the world that moves away from the truth which it alone provides.

The triumph of God’s underlying wisdom and majesty is also declared by the Prophet Habakkuk. As the great waters have filled and pervaded in the seas, he notes, so shall the day come when the glory of the knowledge of God in like fashion will cover or fill our world (Habakkuk 2:14).

Creation, then, is truly an account of the Lord taking what begins so rough and of itself unable to move beyond its chaos and shaping this into tools which can aid in forging and shaping something meant to last and endure through countless ages. From the impenetrable mire of darkness and empty void, God brings about the jewel of the earth. From the swirling, unceasing turbulence of the waters, He makes land to appear, and fills the entire ordered realm with a opulent almost unfathomable array of life, and from amongst this, He makes a distinct creature who is intended to express and reflect His nature in ruling like the fixed stars that light the earth – by serving and replenishing what is good.

May the declaration of the heavens and the earth – the wisdom they speak continually – encourage us to look deeply into the strength and security of the one who makes and keeps these things, that, like the Psalmist, we might know the encompassing certainty of His love and intention towards us.