Tuesday Week 5 Year I

This, our second instalment from the drama of Genesis, continues the pattern from yesterday—out of chaos, the imposition of order—layer by layer, species after species, goodness upon goodness—in a mounting crescendo of creation culminating, of course, in humans like ourselves—woman and man shining in God’s own image. Everything is in its place, everything is inter-related, every relationship is as it should be. It’s beautiful. The only catch is that, once the creation is over on the sixth day, the whole cosmos freezes. Everything stops as though dozing away the Sabbath. As we’ll hear in the chapters to come the only way on is down.

The impulse to set everything in order and the impulse to stop everything moving very often beat together in the same breast. We want to worship creativity just as long as it doesn’t upset the patterns we have made, the laws we’ve written. And the urge to make patterns is irresistible. It’s the heart of art and science—pattern, order, beauty, law. But when patterns proliferate they stifle creation—everything stays the same. But God has never ceased doing the new thing – God is busy doing the new thing in the gospel today and Jesus is sharp with his scorn for those who can’t tell the difference between order and deadlock.
Here we are on retreat asking God to be creative in our lives. Maybe the patterns have worn threadbare and the chaos is showing through. Or maybe there is the teasing hint that in that mess of colour over there some whole new beauty is being born. Either way we have a letting go in store. And letting go can be scary. But you can’t grasp new life with hands that are full of the old.