Celebrating Creation.III

From: Robert Schneider (rjschn39@bellsouth.net)
Date: Mon Oct 28 2002 - 20:44:10 EST

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    Here is the third of my five meditations on the creation, which will appear
    in St. Luke's bulletin next Sunday:

                       CELBRATING CREATION
                 Meditations for the Creation Season
                              Robert J. Schneider

                St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Boone, NC

                               November 3, 2002


           In the New Testament proclamations about Jesus Christ, the creation
    themes developed in the Jewish Scriptures are recapitulated. The one his
    followers hailed as Messiah and Savior came to be viewed as the one "through
    whom are all things," as St. Paul put it (1 Cor. 8:6). Their faith in Jesus
    the Lord came to be expressed in cosmic terms.

           Nowhere is this revelation more powerfully stated than in the Letter
    to the Colossians. In a passage that may have been an early Christian hymn
    Christ is lauded as

    the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;

        for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created,

        things visible or invisible.

        all things have been created through him and for him.

    He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together..

    For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

    and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things,

    whether on earth or in heaven,

       by making peace through the blood of his cross" (Col. 1:15-17, 19-20).

    In this remarkable passage Christ is proclaimed as the Agent of Creation (in
    him all things were created), the Wisdom of God (the firstborn of all
    creation), the Sustainer (in him all things hold together), and the Savior
    (through him God was pleased to reconcile all things). The passage rings
    with praise to Christ. The One through whom God saves-and not only human
    beings but all things, the entire cosmos--is also the very Word of power who
    spoke the whole of creation into existence, as John the Evangelist also
    affirmed in the words of perhaps another early Christian hymn:

           In the beginning was the Word,

             And the Word was with God,

             And the Word was God.

           He was in the beginning with God.

           All things came into being through him,

             And without him not one thing came into being (John 1:1-3).

           In the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, who had such a profound sense of
    intimacy with his Father the Lord of Heaven and Earth, we also see his
    intimacy with the creation. This man who walked the pathways of Galilee and
    soaked up its sunlight and dust, this one who stilled the storm on the sea,
    calling to obedience the wind and the waves (Mark 4:35-41), also spoke with
    pleasure of the lilies of the field and the fall of a sparrow, of the search
    for lost lambs, of vineyards and fields of grain, of the simple yet
    sacramental elements of water, bread and wine. The intimacy with God's
    creation he shared with his fellow Jews presaged the deeper intimacy his
    followers would come to believe of him-- that he is the One who holds all
    the creation together in himself. In these New Testament proclamations
    about the cosmic Christ, the major elements of the Old Testament portrait of
    the creation and its Creator find their completeness.

           In these and other passages in the New Testament (cf. Heb. 1:1-13; 2
    Peter 1:1-8), the Church through its inspired writers was groping its way to
    the belief that Christ Jesus shares in an inexpressibly intimate way the
    Divine Life--that the Christ and his Father are one together with the Holy
    Spirit in perfect communion. By the middle of the fourth century this
    understanding of the divine nature came to be expressed in the doctrine of
    the Trinity. We see in the Nicene Creed, that ancient affirmation we as a
    congregation make at nearly every Eucharist, this belief about a triune
    Creator crafted in simple, concise theological language. "We believe in God,
    the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.. We believe in Jesus
    Christ.God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not
    made, .through whom all things were made.. We believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the Lord, the giver of life.."

           Ever since, our theology of creation has been at the center a
    trinitarian theology: the Father creates through the Son in the Spirit.
    This is the faith of patristic theologians like St. Augustine, medieval
    thinkers like St. Thomas Aquinas, and reformers like John Calvin. Augustine
    wrote that "every creature," that is, every created thing, bears "traces of
    the Trinity" (vestigia trinitatis). The creation, "God's love song" (carmen
    dei), reveals in its essential goodness and beauty the goodness of the Holy
    Spirit, the wisdom of the Son, and the power of the Father.

           This trinitarian perspective is also the faith of modern thinkers who
    are constructing new theologies of an evolving creation. I shall introduce
    some of their ideas next week. During this week I invite you to turn your
    thoughts to our Christ and meditate upon his marvelous creativity. He who
    is the Logos, the Word made Flesh, is the one who made the stardust out of
    which our own flesh is made. He who was incarnated into all matter, as the
    poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, and became incarnate from the Virgin Mary
    as Jesus of Nazareth, shares his incarnation with us in the matter and
    spirit of the Eucharistic feast. When we receive him in this Holy
    Sacrament, we receive the Lord of the Cosmos.

    Readings: Colossians 1:9-23; John 1:1-14; Hebrews 1:1-13; 2 Peter 1:1-8.

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