Monday, April 20, 2009

Lightning rods...

In an extraordinary post over on A Minor Friar, Brother Charles says:

Sometimes I think we don't spend enough time reminding ourselves of the direct connection between the creation and the incarnation. When I talk to kids or even adults about creation, they almost always know that God created the heavens and the earth. But they are often stumped when I ask them how God creates, what particular technique God used. Though it's explicit and obvious in the first creation account in Genesis, it's easily missed that God creates through his speech. "God said," "and so it happened."

St. John says as much in the prologue to his gospel, how the world was created through the Word. As Christians we believe that Jesus Christ is that same Word made flesh. The same Word which, when spoken, makes the creation happen is made human in Christ. So God's act of creating the world and the Incarnation of the Word are very closely correlated. I would even dare to say that the world is created so that the Word might become incarnate in it, so that the Word made flesh might die and rise within it in order to communicate to the creation the creative power of the Word.

The Resurrection, then, a recapitulation of the first day of creation when God separated the light from the darkness. This is also part of the reason why we celebrate the Easter season as a "week of weeks." During the whole of the first week we pray in "on this Easter day" in the preface to the Eucharistic Prayer, because the Easter Octave is the "Sunday" in the seven weeks of the season. The Easter season imitates and commemorates both the creation through the Word and the re-creation through the Word made flesh, and reminds us that we are on pilgrimage to a destiny in which these are the same thing.

The gift of rebirth in the Resurrection is for the whole of creation. For God insists on saving the world and pours out upon it the very force of creation itself in the dying and rising of Christ.

This is what lies at the very heart of what I understand about prayer. We do not pray as isolated individuals, crying out our demands to a brazen sky. No, we pray as part of creation, already dead and already raised (Colossians 3:3; Romans 6:8) with Christ: we are lightning rods for "the very force of creation itself" in Christ. We are very like lightning rods in fact, small and insignificant things, dull and spindly, left out in the weather. Yet the Holy Spirit will flow (unhindered if we are poor enough in ourselves) through us, bringing healing and renewal, and the hope of the Resurrection, not only to those we might remember to pray for by name, but to everyone, and every thing, towards whom our hearts are open.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (Romans 8.18-27)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:09 am

    It is the how that I question if we can even begin to comprehend. I don't know what it means to say the Word of God was the how of creation. I fear we make up thinking we understand things we can't. For example, what about sea slugs, who don't have anything much in common with us; how do they understand creation? Do we say they don't?
    All I do know is the the Word mediated throught the person of Christ; beyond that I can say nothing. And I am not sure we should try to go beyond, to abstract outside of our own species, because I don't know if it will make sense.
    -Ann

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