Water is essential to life, as we know.
Therefore it is not surprising that water would literally flow through scripture from Genesis 1 with the Spirit of God hovering over the surface of the waters to Revelation 22, "Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life."
We are spending Spring and Summer reading, learning from and wrestling with what we learn from passages of scripture that are connected to water. What themes about our relationship with God, with one another, with the environment and with ourselves will jump off the pages of God's Word and into our lives?
Part of this journey of focusing on water for me began when I was reading the Gospels during Lent and realized how much time Jesus focuses on water – in the dry, arid land of first century Palestine – water into wine, walking on water, receiving a cup of water from a woman at a well and then offering living water, rebuking the waters even as he seemed at home on the water.
So, we start at the beginning... Genesis 1
In the beginning, as if before a blank canvas, with the Spirit of God hovering, trembling, moving over the formless, empty deep and into the void God moves the waters and creates.
Our scripture gives space for there being nothing from which God created and there being a chaotic deep of water from which God moved to create. I love this pre-historical ambiguity that puts the emphasis upon God not the HOW.
We worship a God that must create. Central to God is creation. In the beginning God created, through Jesus God brings forth a new creation and right today – God is creating and creating through each of your unique gifts and personalities.
Throughout this passage that tells the story of Creation from nothing to the fullness of life – water weaves through this passage as space is created in the waters and in the space in between.
In the creation telling in Genesis 1, Humans are placed central in a remarkable collaborative relationship – God speaks the rest of Creation in to being; yet God speaks directly to the humans!
“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”
What do you make of this liturgy of creation and how we fall into the story? What do you then make of our responsibility to “subdue" and “have dominion”? Some would say, what if those words hadn’t been put there, then there would be no abuse!
What if actually, the wording is there for exactly the opposite reason? Because God knew those created in God’s image – would seek power and control, God gave responsibility. Perhaps this text is revolutionary as we look at what God is asking of us, and we as followers of Jesus, are meant to not stay silent.
The rest of scripture affirms that the word ‘dominance” refers to the example of a shepherd who cares for and tends animals for their well-being. Or, for those who were now living in cities and political arenas, a king – who does not exploit but rather seeks to secure the well-being of the rest of creation.
What an honoring responsibility…that can also paralyze us.
Today, on this Second Sunday of Easter as we live into the Good news that Jesus Christ is Risen, and as we celebrate that through Jesus WE are a new creation, it seems right and fitting to spend time with the original story of creation.
What does this story of God’s original intent for all of creation speak into our lives today?