The creation story from the opening pages of the book of Genesis is a wonderful story–reminding us of the truth that God is the source of all that is good in our lives. We know that the Creation Story is not a historical account of actual incidents, but a parable or metaphor for our own spiritual lives. I take great comfort in this truth. For I am glad that I don’t have to explain how it is possible that God created the earth, stars, sun, plants, animals, humans, etc. all within six days.
It is inevitable that at some point in the life of our children they will look at the Grand Canyon, the Rio Grande Gorge, or the Flatirons in Boulder, and realize that it took wind, water, and movements in the earth’s crust, millions of years to form those beautiful works of nature (of course God is the Architech). If we held a view of the Bible that said that it was only literally true without question, we would have a formidable task of trying to explain that to them, when all evidence points in a different direction.
I believe there is incredible value in believing something because God has said so in His Word. But I think there is so much more power when the Word doesn’t contradict what we see and learn from the natural world we live in.
The book of Genesis describes the creation of the world. So it must have happened that way, right? Well then how come science is in complete disagreement with that theory. We have a choice. We can reject science or we can reject the Bible. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could embrace both? And that’s exactly what I love about the New Church. We can and are encouraged to embrace both.
We are taught that the Bible from beginning to end is about our personal spiritual development. We see within its stories our progression from a lifeless, formless spiritual being to a thriving, living spiritual entity. It is certainly fitting then that the creation story–the first story of the Word–is a metaphor for our own spiritual transformation. A setting the stage for all that is to follow.
On the first day, or in the first stage in our development, we see the earth, previously without form and void, touched with light–separating light from darkness. The promise of the first day is that if we will acknowledge a power outside of ourselves that is greater than we, in our minds the light of truth will begin to dawn.
On the second day there is a separation of the waters below and the waters above. If we remain in this attitude of mind and try to respond to the light of truth which the Lord has shined upon us, He will then grant us the ability to discern which knowledges, truths, and ideas are our own and which are God’s. This enables us to then make good choices–knowingly choosing higher ideals.
On the third day the dry land appears and a distinction is made between the dry land and the seas. The dry land begins to bring forth grass, herbs, and fruit trees that reproduce themselves. This describes what happens when we begin to separate ourselves from false ideas and destructive tendencies. Our mind (the dry land) then becomes fertile, ready to receive new living ideas from the Lord that can begin to grow into life. We progress from actively thinking about heavenly truths to applying them to our lives.
On the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars are created and set in the sky. Light is given to the earth and light is again divided from darkness. In this fourth stage love, represented by the sun, is now present in the internal self, and faith, represented by the moon, is present in the external self or understanding. Love to and faith in the Lord are born within us in the internal self, and with that, knowledges of heaven are also born. These lights or truths shine from the internal self and begin to govern the activities of our minds and lives, and so we really begin to live for the first time guided from within by the Lord.
On the fifth day God created the fish and the sea creatures as well as the birds of the air. This illustrates that when we are committed to following the Lord in life, He allows the ideas in our memory to begin to take form, and to come to life–beginning to truly serve us. When we are in doubt or feeling fear, the memory of an experience or an idea surfaces within us. And our thoughts begin to soar to higher heights, as truths wing their way through our minds, lifting us above thoughts of only ourselves.
On the sixth day God created all the creatures that dwell on the earth–the cattle, the beasts of the field, and every creeping thing. God also created His crowning work–the human being–the male and the female. This is the promise that good affections and loves will be created within us by the Lord. The selfish, angry, resentful, and fearful feelings will be replaced by feelings of hope, joy, delight, happiness, and kindness. These feelings are represented by the warm blooded animals that God created. And the male and the female and their union symbolize the unity within us of our will and our understanding. What we love will be what we think about, and what we think about will be what we love. There will be a marriage in our lives of goodness with true ideas–giving us strength and stability.
Finally on the seventh day, God rests from all of His labors. The work is done. God no longer has to fight so hard for us. We are now operating in a spiritually healthy way from within and from true strength.
This story illustrates a beautiful promise which the Lord has offered. If we will turn to God in our lives, live by the truth of His Word, and ask for His strength, we will find true spirituality and true peace.
May the Lord create within each of us a new heart–a new desire to live by His Word. And create within our minds a new understanding of His truth so we have the clarity of mind to walk through this life and to face and overcome its many challenges.
I hope you can join us for worship this Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
Often our efforts to make positive changes in our life are met with resistance or obstacles arise that challenge our resolve to take the next step. How can we gather strength and muster the fortitude to go on? The story of the Children of Israel trying to cross from the wilderness that they had wandered in for forty years into the Promised Land illustrates this type of challenge in our lives. Come and see how they made it across and what it tells us about our own journey.
Join us Sunday for worship at 10:30 a.m.
We can keep doing the same things and keep getting the same results or we can try doing things differently – trying to develop new healthier habits. There are stories in the Bible that illustrate how to move into new habits and give us help with what to do to be strengthened in our efforts for change. Come this Sunday and let’s talk more about it.
See you Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
They say everyone is broken in one way or another–that we all have suffered pain or hurt that has left us damaged somehow. One of the things that we can do when we are hurt is to retreat or isolate so that we avoid more pain–building walls to defend ourselves. These walls don’t so much prevent pain from coming in as keep the pain from ever leaving. To find healing we need connection. Connection helps us to experience the love of God and others. Love heals. As we read in Isaiah 61 and as Jesus read in the synagogue in reference to Himself: “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.”
We hope you will come to the service on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
It seems that it would be good to know the future or be certain of what was going to happen next. Imagine what that would really be like–to be certain of these things. What would happen is that we would try to change the outcome or we might give up on making any effort since we knew what would happen anyway.
One of the gifts that God gives us is a feeling of self life. A feeling that we are in charge. And at the same time we are asked to acknowledge that all life is a gift from God and that God is the source of all that is good and true. Finding that balance in our life of living as if everything depends upon us and praying as if it all depends upon God can be tricky.
Next time you are feeling uncertain about something try to remember that it is a gift not to know ahead of time. Just like it is is a gift not to know exactly how things will unfold in a story before we read it. Then buckle up and enjoy the ride. You may be surprised to find that there is Someone leading you toward a greater state of happiness then you could have imagined or fashioned for yourself.
Please join us for worship Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
It is easy to believe in God when life is going well and in the day light hours. But when things go wrong and we feel like the lights have gone out is God still present? Yes. God is always there even our darkest moments gently and persistently bending us towards what is good and happy, no matter what it may seem like at the time.
This Sunday we will talk about how to find God when the appearance is that He is not there. Please join us Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
Life can feel like a grind sometimes. When it feels that way how do we rise above those feelings of drudgery and scarcity and find contentment, peace and even joy? The answer lies within the story of the Children of Israel hungering for food on their wilderness journey and God giving them something they could gather daily and eat. What is it, you say? That’s what they said too. And that is what it is called, “what is it.” Or, as it sounds when spoken in their language, “manna.” Come and see what it means for you and me. Worship begins at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.