Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The past couple of weeks have been very intense with all sorts of important meetings not least my Church's AGM last Sunday.  The AGM is not that long, but getting ready for it takes ages! Thankfully it went smoothly with people in reasonably good heart. Last night was the last in my series on parables for our Lenten Studies.  We were looking at the Parable of the Pounds (Luke's equivlaent to the Parable of the Talents).  Now it's time to get ready for Easter!

Here is the last in my series of talks for the radio on Creation.

Creation Talk Five: Through Him and For Him   

In the UK, a little book called the Penny Catechism used to very popular amongst Roman Catholic Christians, in particular, for learning about the Christian faith.  It is so called because it used to cost a penny and teaches the faith by asking and then answering a series of questions.  It begins like this:

Who made you? 
God made me. 
Why did God make you? 
God made me to know him, love him and serve him in this world, and to be happy with him for ever in the next.   

In other words, we are not the chance product of a random process.  We are not accidental beings who live for a few years on this planet then merely to vanish without trace.  We are spiritual beings created for a purpose by a loving Creator.  We may exist for only a short time in this world, but there is a future for us beyond it.  It is the Bible’s contention that the biggest obstacle to that future lies in ourselves, in our rejection of the One who made us, and in our desire to go our own way.

This desire has led us to wage wars, to inflict harm on others, and to torture each other.  It has resulted in hatred, violence, cruelty, discrimination, selfishness, and all the many other acts of wickedness that we shut our minds to.  Evolution suggested to us that things could only get better; in fact, they only ever seem to get worse.   

In Christ, God offers us the chance to get back on track, to find him again and so rediscover our purpose both in this life and for the next.  Salvation makes it possible for the creation to achieve its original purpose.  But the question remains, why did the uncreated God who is beyond the creation, create.  What was his purpose?   

The answer the Bible gives is one that frequently gets overlooked even by Christians!  Christians rightly focus both on God’s supreme act of love in becoming one of us in the person of Christ and also on how through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, he both reveals himself and saves us.  From the very beginning, Christians realized that Christ was no ordinary man.  He was indeed fully human, but he was also divine.  Accordingly, they worshipped him as God.   

As they reflected on what this meant, however, they came to see that Christ’s earthly existence was only a part of the story.  They came to see that he was in fact in the beginning with God, God’s eternal Son who had always existed alongside God the Father in perfect love and harmony.  This recognition led them to formulate what we know as the doctrine of the Trinity: One God in three persons; three persons in One God.  It is for this reason that Christianity is rightly described as Trinitarian religion.   

From this, they drew the boldest of conclusions.  God the Father had brought the creation into being through the Son.  The Son was the agent of creation.  In the Gospel we read at Christmas it says: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.’    

Everything has been created through Christ.  As if this wasn’t enough, the early Christians went even further.  Everything had been created through him, but everything had also been created for him.  The creation was the Father’s gift to the Son.  Before anything came into being, God had determined that when it did, its purpose would be to produce people in his own image who would be part of the family of Christ.   

When everything went bang, the future was already clear.  The creation is not an accident, and nor are you and I.  We were created to know God in Christ and when we do, we discover our own purpose in existing.  At the same time, we become more fully and truly ourselves.  Without Christ we are missing out on becoming who, from the very beginning, we were meant to be.   

The world we live in me may as a result of human sin be less than perfect.  Human beings may fail and turn their back on God.  But God remains as committed to his creation and to his purpose in creating as he ever was.    

And Christ remains at the centre of all God’s plans for you and me.    

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