Sermon Ideas For Genesis 1:1-5 Part 2
The "crown jewel" of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C. is a beautiful rose window which conveys the theme, "Let There Be Light." An abstract design, the glass radiates a brilliant red with patches of blue and yellow, which produces an overall effect of movement. The twisting shapes and forms reinforce the impression of movement. The colors seem to intensify away from the center of this window toward the outer petals. The myriad designs in dynamic tension with one another are nonetheless held decisively within the overall structure of the window. It is a beautiful, radiant sight, blending themes of light and color into the interior of this cathedral.
A hymn to the first light of creation, a light God creates even before sun or stars appear, is found in Book III of John Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost.
"Hail holy light, of spring of Heav'n first-born Or of th' Eternal Coeternal beam May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light, And never but in unapproachable light Dwelt from Eternitie, dwelt then in thee, Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream, Whose Fountain who shall tell? before the Sun, Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice Of God, as with a Mantle didst invest The rising world of water dark and deep, Won from the void and formless infinite."
A further treatment of the theme of creation is found in the Duino Elegies of the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke.
"Early successes, Creation's pampered favorites. Mountain ranges, peaks growing red in the dawn of all beginnings...."
The snow-capped peaks of the Alps must have been a familiar sight for Rilke. The towering peaks are represented in the above verses as heralds of the dawn as they shine with the reddish colors of the new day.
This new light could well represent the human sense of wonder before God's creative power and initiative. God alone is Lord of creation. Humankind must not overstep its boundaries and attempt to usurp that role.
The Haggadah is a collection of Jewish writings and legends which stand alongside scripture as an interpretation of an imaginative exposition of sacred writings. An account of creation appears in these writings. In the Haggadah, God is busy creating the earth, and God joins the heaven to the earth in the west. Then God joins the heaven to the earth in the east, and finally heaven and earth are joined in the south as well. But, in the north, God does not join heaven and earth. God leaves that unfinished, for this reason: Any human creature who aspires to be God will fall into the trap of attempting him or herself to cover the deficiency, to join heaven and earth in the north. They will end up spending themselves trying to put heaven and earth together, but their efforts will be futile and wasted because no one but God can make heaven touch the earth. God alone makes heaven and earth fit together, and this is the one key to our worship, praise and service.
God's creation is marked at every completed task with the pronouncement that every element of this creation is good.
Returning once again to the Haggadah, another story is found concerning God's good intention behind God's creative activity. In an imaginative rendering of a period of time before creation, God and God's law, the Torah, are together, involved in a discussion and a debate. The Torah is personified as a participant in this debate, arguing against God creating the world. The Torah, arguing from the standpoint of God's holy law and high purpose for humanity, points out to God that creation, with humanity in it, will not work. Humanity, prone to error, will surely violate the guidelines of God's justice and upset God's good intent. God replies that with the aid of God's gifts of repentance and the temple, humanity can restore itself to health after such violations. The promise of a Messiah is added to the benefits humanity shall have. God knew that justice by itself would undermine the world, so God associated mercy with justice.