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CAUGHT IN THE ACT

CAUGHT IN THE ACT

God’s Son is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.
Hebrews 1:3

I was stopped in my tracks as soon as I saw it!  I was compelled to watch what the psalmist called “the wings of the morning” (Psalm 139:9).  It was the sun’s majestic ascent over the horizon, painting gray clouds pink, and then golden.   It was in stopping to attend to the sun’s rising, that I heard birds singing.   Without thinking, I started humming the old hymn, revived and made popular in the 60’s, Morning Has Broken:   

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word…
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day.

I was a witness this morning to something most astonishing and marvelous: God caught in the act recreating the new day!  I prayed as I watched, asking God to help me take it all in, to absorb the wonder of what I was seeing, hearing, and feeling.  I was graced in the moment to experience what I had learned in theology about the Doctrine of Continuous Creation: that God recreates the world new in every present moment.  

Once it had just been inert theology spelled out on the page of book: God sustains in each new moment His first creation out of nothing.  German theologian Wolfgang Pannenberg (b. 1928) well described God’s Continuous Creation: “It is a living occurrence, continued creation, a constantly new creative fashioning that goes beyond what was given existence” (Systematic Theology, Volume II).  Each morning God is recreating the sun, so that the sun’s very existence, or the birds singing, depends upon Him.  Moment by moment God continues to recreate.

The Doctrine of Continuous Creation comes up in numerous Bible texts.  For instance, in Colossians 1:17, the Apostle Paul tells how God is the cosmic glue in whom “all things hold together”.  From the quirky quarks of the subatomic world, to the supernovas of interstellar space, God holds together, not most things, but “all things”.   They all find their moment-by-moment existence in Him.  

Today’s Scripture text from book of Hebrews is a doxology praising God’s Son who “sustains all things by his powerful word”.  The Son “by whom all things came into being” (John 1:3), speaks but a word to sustain all things.  Just as in Genesis, He spoke and it was done, so moment by moment He speaks giving life to all He has made.  God is not the “clockmaker god’ of Deism, who created the world, set it running, and then left it to run on its own, but rather a God personally and intimately involved in every moment of life.

As part of God’s magnificent artistry we praise Him for keeping us alive through the night and keeping us “among the living”:   

Bless our God, O peoples,
   let the sound of his praise be heard, 
who has kept us among the living,
   and has not let our feet slip.  (Psalm 66:8-9)

“The Lord and Giver of Life” (Nicene Creed) supplies light to the sun each moment, causes birds to sing, and give us breath each moment of each amazing day.  Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), saw God at work in every moment and praised Him for His daily gift to us of the sun:  

Most high, all-powerful, all good, Lord! 
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor 
And all blessing. 
To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. 
No mortal lips are worthy 
To pronounce your name. 
All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made,
And first my lord Brother Sun, 
Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him. 
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!        

Grace and peace,
Tim

 

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