Some years ago we were privileged to have a high school student from Malawi become part of our family for a few years. At Thanksgiving, we took a family trip to Newport, Rhode Island to show 2 of our children where they and their father had been born.
After the short tour, it IS a small island after all, we wandered over to the Cliff Walk that runs along the Ocean, the scene of many of Jeff and my first dates. Jeff and I walked happily along, noticing what had changed and what had stayed the same in the neighborhood while the kids tossed little rocks over the edge to see how long they'd take to reach the ocean. To be honest, we were pretty focused on remembering the people of the neighbor hood and stories of the grand "cottages."
Suddenly I realized that our friend wasn't with us. "Keep going," I told the rest of the family, "I'll find her." I wasn't worried at first, but as I kept backtracking with no success I started to look more toward the ocean and the steep cliffs that give the walk its name. Finally, I arrived back at where we'd started. There she was. She hadn't moved a step beyond the entrance.
"Are you alright?" I asked coming up behind her. "What's wrong?" Without turning her gaze away from the rolling waves she answered. "God is so great.......God is so great."
It was her first encounter with the Atlantic Ocean. Her plane ride had been at night and her native country landlocked (though with a great river). Now, she was transfixed by God's creating power.
I chose a rock and settled down to wait, out of side so as not to distract her from this sabbath moment.
God made earth and the sea. And saw that it was good.God made the sun, the moon, and the stars. …... And God saw that it was good.
God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And … saw that it was good.
God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, ….. And.....saw that it was good. -Genesis 1
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting a new family in the birthing unit at MidCoast Medical Center. The tiny new beloved, less than a half a day old, was just finishing nursing. I watched as mother gently passed her to father and watched the exquisite tenderness with which he recieved his daughter, Phoebe. Their eyes met and his hands become her cradle, the safest place in the world that she could be at that moment.
And after God made humankind….. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
The next day we buried another child of God, Mort Hamlin. He'd raised his own children, loved a bunch of grandchildren to adulthood and, in his years in public educaiton, "fathered" more students, teachers, and administrators than you could ever count.
I couldn't help picturing him cradled in God's hands as surely as Bobby held Phobe.
Jesus taught us to speak to God as a loving parent: Abba, Daddy. In the act of creation, a daddy cradling the whole world, all of it. In moments of birth, and living, and death cradling each person ever created, every one.
And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. -Genesis 2
Sometimes we think of Sabbath, the day of rest, as chance to catch our breathe before we get back to work, the essential "pause," OR the result of exhaustion after the exhertion of creation.
But what if Sabbath is the crowning moment of creation, the moment to look as see that .....It is good.
Just as God as Spirit was moving over the stuff that was and would be in creation's earliest moments, before we learned to call God, "Father," and before the Son would live and die and live so that we might live, God as Spirit is moving over creation now.
There is also a Spirit of the church. As people visit, stay a while, or stay a little longer, they see and say, it is good, OR.......it is not good.
The great church builder Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
The Spirit of God yearns to flow through us. If we are open, it is good. If we are not......perhaps that is the "sin against the Holy Spirit," of which Jesus spoke, the only unforgiveable sin.
What do you see that is good in this world at this moment of re-creation? Call it out (its ok if more tha one person speaks at the same time. We are the creative chaos over which God moves.).
What do you see that is good in this Church at this moment that God is creating this community of discples?
This is our Father’s Day. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!