Adventures in Thanks-Living

Living the gift of life one breath at a time

Beginnings: Creation

“In the beginning when GOD created the heavens and the earth,”  –Genesis 1:1

Can you imagine the first beginning of the earth and cosmos as we know it? What must it have been like when there was chaos and nothingness? What does a complete lack of order even look like? Frankly it boggles my brain to consider it!

I look at clutter in my house, and see chaos, but order is fairly easy to regain with a little elbow grease and dedicated time. I look at my sermon research and notes, and panic at the lack of cohesion, but with prayer, time, and a lot of help from the Spirit the words tend to materialize–in kairos (God) time rather than chronos (human) time.

But utter chaos? Nothingness? Again, such thoughts boggle my brain. That the Creator could speak into being such brilliant order is humbling, amazing, and utterly breathtaking.

One of my favorite activities when I lived in North Dakota was to bundle up on a clear winter night and go stand in the yard to look at the sky. I’d stay there as long as I could before the cold became too oppressive looking up into infinity. It always amazed me that the longer I looked the bigger and deeper the universe appeared. In the dark night of the northern prairie, the stars were absolutely amazing. You could almost experience a tangible sensation of spinning outward into an expanding universe. About that time, however, a cold nose and toes would drive me back inside to to the secure warmth of the parsonage and the more manageable cares of the world. Enough chaos for one day.

I am grateful for this big, beautiful world, for the night skies, and the reality of the immensity of the universe. Instead of feeling small and insignificant in the face of such abundance and vastness, I feel thankful to be a part of this great web of meaning and being–to be matter that matters, even if it is only in my tiny part time and space in a particular context. Life is good. Just drawing breath is miracle enough.

For further reflection:

Read the two creation stories in Genesis (yes, there really are two). The first one is recorded in Genesis 1:1-2:3 and the second one is found in Genesis 2:4-25.  What words and images stand out to you? For me they are chaos, light, and the image of God speaking the world into creation. I am also fascinated by the relational quality of the first creation story.

If you are able to gain a good, clear view of the night sky, spend some time gazing into the cosmos. Appreciate the depth, beauty, and majesty of all that is. Give thanks for the gift of life and for the interconnectedness and relationships you have and are forming. Give thanks for the very act of breathing. Consider the Hebrew word ruach ha-kodesh or Holy Spirit or Spirit of YHVH (יהוה .קָדְשְׁך). How does your own involuntary yet life-giving act of breathing inform your understanding of the “ruach” or breath/Spirit of God?

One thing most humans don’t do is attend to the act of breathing. Our breathing is most often to shallow. Try to take a few minutes as you meditate on the Spirit of God to breath in deeply though your nose until your belly is full and extends outward. Let the breath out through your mouth  (think the sound “ha”) until all the air is emptied and your stomach pulled in tightly. If you are interested in more breathing exercises, click here.

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

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