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 connected, 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. And 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 in his scorn for those who can’t tell the difference between order and deadlock.
Here on retreat, one way or another, we’ve been asking God to be creative in our lives. To do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. To surprise us. To make all things new. To be alive for us and beautiful.
But, as a retreat draws to a close, there’s also the tendency to want to pack the experience up and put it into storage for safe keeping. There are two things to say to that: first that the retreat isn’t over yet and God might not be finished yet, even now; and second, that even when the retreat expires, God doesn’t and grace doesn’t. God goes with you wherever you go, creative, surprising, new.