Read the text below, preferably aloud. As you hear the word, “listen with the ear of your heart” for a word or short phrase that God has for you this day.
Genesis 1: 1-5; 1: 31-2:3
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And onthe seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
This illuminated text is the first illumination I was introduced to four years ago by Tim Ternes. I remember all the detail that he showed us in this illumination. It was majestic! Further I remember standing in the parish parking lot gathered around the Easter Vigil fire as this reading was proclaimed by three readers. On those evenings we would be surrounded by the stars, the moon and the gentle breeze. A year ago, people in the southern area of the United States were facing the oil spill in the Gulf of America. A different image of creation spread across the news media.
“The seventh day” is the cluster of words that I am drawn to in this reading. My natural inclination is to know the ending of a story without listening to all the in-between details. However, time has sanded away some of my impatience and experience has taught me to look at the big picture. What do I miss when I fail to be fully present to the grace of time and people who reveal the Spirit of God? As I prepare for the seventh day during this Holy Week, my mantra will be ‘Spirit of God, renew the face of the earth.’
This is what Irene Nowell writes about this Scripture passage:
This majestic opening to the Bible introduces us immediately to the power of God’s word. Through an orderly procession of days God speaks, and primeval chaos is transformed into the created world we know. First, time and space are created: day and night, sky and earth, land and water. Then God fills time and space: sun, moon, and stars; fish and birds; animals and human beings. Over and over God pronounces each created thing to be good, and finally at the end of the sixth day God looked at everything and saw it was “very good”. Best of all is humankind, made in God’s own image. God blesses us, entrusting to us a share in God’s creative power and responsiblity for the rest of creation. Then God, who has spoken everything into being, rests. God blesses the seventh day, a day for creator and creature to share in the enjoyment of each other and of the gift of life.
© Creation, Donald Jackson with contribution by Christ Tomlin, 2003. The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.