Case in point: I was struggling last night to choose worship songs for this Sunday – a holy and vital task, but a utilitarian one that isn’t entirely free of pedantry – when I felt a small but profound nudge from the Holy Spirit.
One of the readings from the Anglican liturgical calendar this week is the Creation story (Genesis 1: 1-2:3). That’s an exceptionally long passage for a Sunday morning Bible reading, but an incredibly short one when you think of what it describes.
Before Genesis 1, there’s nothing. Just God. By Genesis 2:3, He’s let there be light, galaxies, stars, planets, hills, prairies, rivers, lakes, oceans, kangaroos, mongoose, mosquitoes, papyrus, papayas, pineapples, pomegranates, porcupines, pigs …
… and people …
… and seen that it was good.
Not a bad six days’ (or 13 billion years’) work.
But moved as I was by the story, I had song chooser’s block (like writer’s block, except it affects song choosers). Reading over my shoulder, Karen suggested we sing God of Wonders this week (Lord of all creation, of water, earth and sky; the heavens are your tabernacle; glory to the Lord on High…). Good call! (I knew there was a reason I married her.)
As I reflected on the Scripture text, I was reminded of something mentioned during the Spring Men’s Cursillo weekend I talked about in Mountain Top (https://robpetkau.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/mountain-top/). One of the retreat’s presenters talked about a profound Creation moment he’d had some months or years earlier. I didn’t have my tape recorder going at the time, so the following is actually a paraphrase – despite my arguably inappropriate use of quotation marks. (The Journalism Police can feel free to arrest me):
“I was taken aback by the unbelievable beauty of the scene before me, and overwhelmed by the majesty of God’s creation – the sunset, the mountains, the valleys below. It was absolutely gorgeous. Then I heard a little voice whispering, ‘Yes, but none of it was made in my image, like you were.’”*
I remember being wowed by the speaker’s words during the retreat, but I didn’t really digest the full magnitude of what God was saying to me through him until last night. As I reflected on the Creation story and was reminded of the Spirit’s words to the Curisillo presenter, it finally hit home:
Think of the most beautiful, wondrous, awe-inspiring, piece of nature you’ve ever seen – in person or in a photograph; the place that feels like Creation Central – it takes your breath away and helps confirm your belief in God, because nothing this beautiful could possibly be random.
OK, do you have that clearly articulated in your mind’s eye? Good. Now go find a mirror and look at yourself.
In the eyes of God, you are more beautiful than Creation Central.
He’s God and you’re not. Who are you to argue?
Peace be with you.
(*Apologies, A.R., if I’ve misquoted you. My intention is to honour your words, not mutilate them.*)