Ge­n­e­sis 2:4b-9, 15-end Rev­e­la­tion 4 Luke 8:22-25

Sun­day Read­ings for 3 Fe­bru­ary 2013 2 be­fore Lent - Year C

The Church of England - - SUNDAY -

Our stor y and the story of our sal­va­tion be­gin in this pas­sage from Ge­n­e­sis, telling us what we need to know about our ori­gin and the natur e of our hu­man­ity. We are not the source of our own ex­is­tence but the chil­dren of a Cre­ator, to whom we owe our life and our ver y ex­is­tence. In Ge­n­e­sis 1:27 we are told that God made us in his own im­age: God is holy and made us to be holy, en­joy­ing a way of life un­trou­bled by suf fer­ing and sorr ow. The union of man and wife in mar­riage is it­self holy for that is how God cre­ated us in the very be­gin­ning. There is no con­cept of shame in a world in which there is no sin and so the naked­ness of Adam and Eve is no cause for alarm. It is only later, fol­low­ing our re­bel­lion against the sovereignty of our Cre­ator, that God’s gift of phys­i­cal union be­tween man and wife be­comes an ob­ject for ex­ploita­tion, dis­tor tion and self­ish grat­i­fi­ca­tion.

De­spite the Fall, marr iage re­mains the bi­b­li­cal pat­tern for our way of life as God’s chil­dren, r eflecting the ho­li­ness of our cre­ation and the gen­eros­ity of God in pro­cre­ation.

The Scrip­tures be­gin with our cre­ation and end with the ful­fil­ment of the cre­ated or­der in the glor y of heaven, for his­tor y it­self be­longs to God who brought the uni­verse into be­ing and who will gather us all fi­nally into his pres­ence. Rev­e­la­tion pro­vides us with a vi­sion of that day, so far as we are ca­pa­ble of per­ceiv­ing it within the lim­i­ta­tions of our present ex­is­tence. It is de­scribed in terms of a tem­ple in which the Lord is en­throned in all the majesty of his tran­scen­dent power and glor y, a place fur nished with the most pre­cious of stones and met­als, be­fit­ting the king of kings at whose com­mand all was cre­ated.

There are el­e­ments here of the vi­sions de­scribed by Isa­iah and Ezekiel, demon­strat­ing the con­ti­nu­ity of God’s rev­e­la­tion of him­self lead­ing up to the coming of the Lamb of God who died for our sins and so paid the ran­som for our sal­va­tion. The Lord is ac­com­pa­nied by 24 crowned el­ders, rep­re­sent­ing per­haps the lead­ers of the old covenant and the new covenant, the tribes of Is­rael and the Church. All bow down in wor­ship of the Lord, and the heavens are con­stantly filled with the sound of praise of the Holy One who is restor­ing the ho­li­ness of the cos­mos.

So far as we know it is only to us as hu­man be­ings that God has given the power and priv­i­lege of un­der­stand­ing of an or­der far above that of all other liv­ing crea­tures, uniquely shar­ing as­pects of the di­vine like­ness im­printed upon us at our cre­ation, en­abling us in tur n to think and to cre­ate in ways which re­flect, how­ever im­per­fectly, the cre­ativ­ity of the Wor d of God. We have gained many ad­van­tages from this gift, by which we have made many ad­vance­ments in our dis­cover y of the na­ture of the cre­ated or­der, putting it to use in many pos­i­tive ways, such as tech­nol­ogy, medicine, agri­cul­ture and the ar ts, as well as its abuse for self­ish gain, vi­o­lence and he­do­nis­tic plea­sure. We are ac­cus­tomed to imag­ine that all of this is our own in­ge­nu­ity, our own achieve­ment, our own sci­ence, and that our con­tem­po­rar y de­scrip­tion of what we see is the re­al­ity about the uni­verse. But the truth re­mains that we know very lit­tle, and our lim­i­ta­tions are many.

We have only just be­gun to glimpse how the cre­ated or­der works, let alone un­der­stand it or the mind of its Cre­ator. We should ac­knowl­edge in hu­mil­ity that it is God’s world and that a word from him calms the storm - we know not how - or heals the sick, or con­ver ts the sin­ner’s hear t to be­lieve in his re­deem­ing love. We will never un­der­stand ever ything, but in faith we may en­trust our­selves to the One who does. The Rev Stephen Trott

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