TRINITY, A – May June 11, 2017

SCRIPTURES – Genesis 1:1 – 2:4; Acts 2:14, 22-36; Matt. 28:16-20

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

 

Our lives are lived within and shaped by stories. “Where were you when…?” is a question that often introduces the retelling of a significant event. There are many websites that will help you trace your family history, and even your DNA, to find out more about who you are and what has shaped your life. Stories are important! And none is more interesting or more important than the story of how we, and all things, came to be and why we exist.

There are many stories and ideas about Creation.

Ø  The Hindu story is that before time was there was a vast ocean of nothingness, and the Lord Vishnu sleeping upon it. He awoke to find a magnificent lotus flower growing from his navel, and his servant Brahma sitting in the middle of it. Vishnu ordered Brahma to create the world, and then vanished.

Ø  An African story (the Bakuba) speaks of the earth as darkness and chaos, over which ruled Mbombo, the White Giant. One day he felt a terrible pain in his stomach and vomited the sun, the moon and the stars. Then again he felt sick and vomited trees, animals, the first man and woman, and many other things.

Ø  Ancient Greek stories speak of the gods being vomited forth, and then of battles between them as they created the world and its people. Ancient Egyptian and Babylonian stories are similar.

Ø  Many scientists today believe that everything came forth from pre-existing matter, and did so by pure chance. DNA – the incredibly complex molecule containing vast amounts of information that is within, and directs the functions of, every cell of every living thing, and that is itself made of 100’s of proteins linked together in very specific, patterned chains – arose from non-living matter by pure chance. There is no Creator, no plan, and no purpose. No way! (In fact, even Dr. Francis Crick, the co-discover of the double-helix structure of DNA, considered the likelihood of it arising by purely natural forces so incredibly improbable that he accepted directed panspermia, the theory that the earth was “seeded” with life by an alien race (Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature (1981)).

How differently does the Bible speak! Our story is more than just a story. It is a teaching: about us; and, more importantly, about our God. He is not only great and almighty and wise. He is active. He is interested and involved. There’s no vomiting here, no chance or disinterest. God doesn’t speak things into existence and then stand back or leave. He brings forth what is good, for He puts Himself into it, and in a very literal way. “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness,” He says of you and me, and He puts His life-creating power into every living thing. “In Him we live and move and have our being,” the Apostle Paul declares (Acts 17:28). There’s your history! There’s your story! And, there’s your value for your present and your future.

God, the almighty and all-wise and all-good, is with you and for you. Just as He did not create the earth to be without form and empty, but filled it with His purpose and beauty and life, so God has created and filled you.

He did so at the beginning, as He tells us in Genesis 1; although, much of that beauty and purpose has been lost or marred by the sin of our first parents. That sad story is told in Genesis 3. Their sin and disobedience has become ours, for we are their children. Their DNA is in us, and so is their sin. We see it in our doubts and fears and lack of faith.

Ø  How incredible it was that some of Jesus’ disciples, even after He had risen from the dead and they had seen Him, could doubt Him! Matthew tells us that they did. How incredible that we can see the beauty and incredible complexity and order of the heavens and the earth, or of a child growing in the womb, and yet doubt and not see God’s presence in and through them.

Ø  How sad when we feel we are useless or believe that our lives have little value. The Triune God is not like Vishnu, or the Greek gods, or any other god. He never removes Himself from His creatures. This is so even when we sin greatly! He ran to the rescue of Adam and Eve when they sinned and, in fear, ran away from Him. Even the great sin of crucifying Jesus was “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” (Acts 2) It was God’s plan to save us from our sins and make our lives new and whole again. If God could do this with that great sin, then how could any sin of yours, or any tragedy or change that happens to you, ever separate you from His love or end His good purpose for your life?

As your Creator, God is your loving Father. See your life within His creation story! And, that you might, God has made your creation story personal. You weren’t there at the original creation. You didn’t hear God, with whom is all power and authority, speak all things into existence or feel Him breathe into you the breath of life.

But, He has spoken directly to you and has breathed His life into you. Jesus, the possessor of all authority in heaven and on earth – God’s authority – by virtue of His death and resurrection, commanded His disciples to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In that baptismal speaking of the Triune Name life, from God and with God, is given! Your baptism is your birth, your creation event! It was the Triune God making you in His image and likeness, filling you with His presence and purpose, and promising to be with you always. God is not distant. In your Baptism He is your Father!

And He is with you to write your story as He lives within you and molds you into the image of His Son. The original command from the God of all power and authority to His new people was, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over it.” Have families, and exercise God’s good rule – not your own – over this world. We are still to do this. The command of Jesus, the God of all power and authority, to His disciples was “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” As we treasure our baptisms, and bring our children to baptism and teach them Christ’s words, we are made God’s family. As we learn, and follow and share, God’s good words, we grow as His children into His image and likeness. He writes His story into your life.

But, as our God is a mystery – one God and yet three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; a great God who cannot be fully known or understood – so is your life in Him. His image and likeness in you in Holy Baptism is a mystery. You do not know what will happen in your life, or how God will work in and through your life, or what will be the result of your labors for Him. At times He might even seem to be absent! But, do not doubt or worry. God the almighty Creator is your almighty Creator. As you hold to Him in faith and follow Christ’s baptism and teaching, He will bring forth what is good. One day, when you rest from your labors, you will look on all that God did in and through you and say, “Behold, it is very good!”

All praise and glory and honor to our good God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Amen