Daily Devotional

Devotionals


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The Wonder of the Creator


Devotional for the

week of May 22, 2017


Monday


Creation is God’s imagination revealed.  Our faith teaches us that God has always existed, yet our world has not.  In the vastness of nothingness, God speaks the world, the cosmos and the galaxies into being.  Genesis 1 is our poetic statement of God’s speaking, which is rhythmic and good!  The ancients weren’t asking the scientific questions of our modern times as to when creation happened; they were describing who did the creating!  Read this account once again and just feel the dance of creation!


Bob the mentor used creation as a tool for learning.  Like Bob, there is a stream of teachers in Christianity that have been able to connect with God through creation.  They see God in the birds’ song; in the majesty of mountains; in the vastness of seas.  For a moment, how does creation shape you?  What impact does the created realm have on you?


Tuesday


One of the biblical writers spent a great deal of time out in creation.  As a shepherd, he would spend most of his time watching, leading and caring for sheep.  In the time that he wasn’t tending to the sheep, he would have observable time to soak in the world around him.  It isn’t a surprise that much of David’s Psalms connect nature with God.


Today, read Psalm 148.  This Psalm of praise is the creation’s response to God.  Too often, humanity has a human-centric view of God.  God is for us and the world is here for our use and enjoyment.  Of course, this has led to destructive uses, and global warming.  When we align our view of God, God’s creation, and ourselves, we quickly discover the ancient truth that we are partners in this world.  Creation adores God, just as we do!  


I find that many of the indigenous faith traditions (like Hawaiian, Native American, etc.) have a profound respect and care for creation.  They understand that our well-being, and creation’s well-being, are intricately connected.   If only the Christians would have such a profound respect for our earth!  When we learn to see this home as a gift to be respected instead of used, then we will discover a healthy rhythm of life and creation-care.  Remember, our first job, given in scripture, was tending and caring for the creation (Genesis 2).


Wednesday


Jesus was a master teacher.  He would often teach through parable without giving us the clear-cut answer; he used creation as a means of teaching deeper realities; he defied the ancient understanding of disease control by healing those deemed too dangerous to touch.  


In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses creation as the basis of one of his teachings.  Read Matthew 6:25-34.  As you read, how is creation intertwined with Jesus’ teaching of something much deeper?  I’m sure you caught it, right?!  Jesus uses the analogy of the beautiful field of wildflowers dancing in God’s radiance and the joyous birds floating above them as examples of trusting the creator.  Why do we worry—just look at these parts of creation!


I wonder, as Jesus shared this teaching on this mountain side, were the flowers in bloom and the wonder of a hillside adorned with color? Was that his backdrop?  Were there birds making lazy circles in the sky or singing their song of joy?  Jesus had a way of taking a topic of great importance and using what was right in front of him to teach a deeper truth!  When was the last time you went outside to just observe?  If you give it enough time, I believe the Spirit will stir some lessons inside of you!

 

Thursday


Throughout the scriptures, the image of mountain is used as a meeting place with God.  Moses is called to ascend Mt. Sinai to receive the Law; Elijah hearing the whisper of God; Jesus is transfigured on the mountain before three disciples.  Perhaps the mountain served a couple of purposes—first, it was the highest point, reaching into the heavens!  If God exists somewhere ‘up there’, then the mountain served as an opportunity to be closer to God’s dwelling. 


Second, as a metaphor, the experience of God requires a movement up, a climbing to experience the sacred.  Anyone that has had a sacred encounter knows the feeling of being on a mountain top, but also the climbing that led to that place.  On the other hand, the idea of the valley is also a metaphor of low times of life (‘though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ Psalm 23).


Lastly, the mountain is seen as a solid, unmovable, and stable.  Much of the encounters in the scriptures on the mountain are wrapped in this imagery as well.  We desire to know that God doesn’t change with the latest fad or teaching.  Humanity desires the consistency of God’s character and so on the mountain they are given the Law of Moses as well as Jesus’ greatest teachings.  

 

Friday


Jesus uses other aspects of creation to speak to something deeper, truer.  When speaking of the in-breaking Kingdom, he doesn’t use imagery of military power but of creation.  Perhaps one of the best examples is the imagery of the mustard seed.


Read Matthew 13:31-32.  How does the mustard seed become the teacher?  Simply, this seed is seemingly inconsequential as it is tiny.  It doesn’t force its way into an area, instead it starts as something quite small and then grows.  As it grows, its branches extend and it becomes something of great size and benefit.  


Why would Jesus use something like a mustard seed?  Most likely, everyone around him got it without deeper explanations.  They knew mustard plants; they knew the analogy for they saw it.  Much of faith is about learning to see and Jesus used the common and ordinary of his day to help people see what is already there. 


What examples might Jesus use in our time?  How would the wonder of this creation called Hawaii be his ‘chalkboard’ for deeper learning?  Truth be told, if we put our fidgets and gadgets away long enough to spend time in a reflective stance within the creation, I believe many of the deepest lessons of God will be revealed. 

 

Saturday


St. Francis of Assisi is known as the Patron Saint of Creation.  He found immense peace and wonder within the creation.  He spent a great deal of time observing and delighting in God’s presence as it became vibrant in the midst of the created realm.


Bob shared that he believed we are wired to be in nature.  For within it, we learn lessons from listening, watching and feeling creation.  Gardeners speak of the peace felt in working plants; surfers speak of the spiritual experience of being in the ocean; hikers describe the euphoric feeling of a mountain top; couples hold each other in the silence of a setting sun.  Perhaps we are missing a part of ourselves when we don’t fully engage with creation.


Today, read Psalm 104 and listen to the words and what they are pointing to.  Do you see and hear their power?  This weekend, go find a place outside, to absorb this wondrous God as revealed through God’s creation!


- Central Union Church -


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