God as Instrumentalist (May 1, 2013)

…Opening To…

Come, then, Lord my God, come and instruct my heart where and how to search for you, where and how to find you. Where shall I look for you, Lord? (St. Anselm)

…Listening In…

On the day the Lord God made earth and sky… the Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. The Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east and put there the human he had formed. (Genesis 2:4b, 7-8; context)

…Filling Up…

The second chapter of Genesis presents another view of the same creative God found in the first chapter of Genesis. God is not standing at the podium, waving a baton as the performing forces of creation harmonize the music of life. In the second story, God, rather the being the conductor, is the instrumentalist: God plays each violin and French horn and clarinet. “In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,” says Genesis, God bent down in the dust and formed a human being. Then, into his nostrils, God breathed the “breath of life.” When the human became lonely, God put him to sleep, and out of the man’s own flesh God created another human being. As the story continues, the man and woman heard God “walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze.”

This movement and participation in the creation, this intimacy, speak of the God who eventually becomes incarnate as the word made flesh, Jesus Christ. This is the understanding of God that Joan Osbourne wonders about when she sings: “What if God was one of us…just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home?” This is the understanding of God that the old hymn describes: “And he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own.”

The tension between our understanding of God as “Cosmic Creator” and as “Intimate Companion” brings us back to the gut-twinging question: “Why do you care about me, Lord?” In those moments of existential angst, the Cosmic Creator easily trumps the Intimate Companion because the former seems so much bigger, holier, more powerful. When my gut compares the two, the latter seems somehow lessened by my own shabbiness.

(Stay tuned to hear about the misguided transfer of shabbiness! To be continued tomorrow…)

…Praying For…

Dear God, you breathed life into me and by your Spirit you gave me breath. Help me to use the inspiration found in that breath to work for the coming of your reign here on earth. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, comforted by the faith that your foolishness is wiser than human wisdom and hopeful that I might let your foolishness educate me.

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