Old, Old Story: Beginning (Gen. 1:26-31)

During Lent at Andrews UMC, we’re taking a look at five of the most important Old Testament stories and how they might help us better understand why Easter Sunday is so worth celebrating.

***

In the beginning, God created… everything.

In six orderly days, God made heavens and earth, sun and moon, water and land, plants and animals. At the end of each day, God paused for a bit of self-evaluation. And each day, God decided that what had just been made was… good.

Well, almost every time.

On the sixth day, after human beings were created, God declared things… very good.

We are different, you and me. We’re not exactly like the rest of creation.

Scripture tells us that we’re made “in God’s image.” It’s not totally clear what that means. Do we look like God? If someone saw one of us standing near God, would they smile and say, “Oh, you have His eyes!” That’s possible – but I think it’s more that we resemble God on the inside, in our souls.

For example, we human beings are creative like our Creator God. For some of us this is through a talent: we make art or music, we cook food or grow plants. But even without such a gift in our DNA, we create just by living. We build homes and thoughts, jobs and lives. We create.

Most of all I wonder if we are “in God’s image” because we have free will. This certainly sets us apart from the rest of creation.

Have you noticed that the natural world just kind of works? Each part knows its job to do and does it. Plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen for us to breathe. Most organisms fit into a food chain, eating and being eaten. The water cycle evaporates lakes into clouds into rain and back down to lakes again.

And then there’s human beings.

Sometimes we know full well what to do, but we fail to do it. We throw trash on the ground.  We abuse our pets.  You can choose your own example from any number things you saw in the news this week.

Sometimes it’s not real clear what we’re supposed to do. Is fracking good or bad? Is nuclear energy a clean source of power or a dangerous threat? If there’s enough food for everyone in the world to eat their fill, how do we get it to them?

The rest of creation knows their job and they do it. But not us.  We eat the apple, kill our brother Abel, build the tower of Babel.

We are different, you and me.

But lest we think we humans are nothing but bad news, don’t forget:  God deemed us “very good.”  There is something lovable about us, something that makes us worth God’s time despite all our trouble.

So during Lent we remember that we are “very good” and yet also very much in need of salvation. Which is why I am so grateful that at the end of these 40 days comes…
…the cross.
…the Resurrection.
…forgiveness.
…eternal life.

If you’ve called yourself a Christian for a long time, all that probably feels like a refresher course. But if you’re hearing it for the first time, and feeling a call to say “yes” to Christ for the first time, I invite you to say this prayer as a first step:

God, I love you.
I need you.
You made me “very good,”
and yet I know I need your help.
I need Christ in my life.
I want Christ to be my Lord and Savior.
Help me to follow Him,
and through Him,
to follow You.
Amen.

***
Thanks to Michael Blackburn for the basic idea behind this sermon.

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