For Monday, 30 March 2020: Fifth Monday of Lent
Read: Genesis 1:1 – 2:3
The front porch hasn’t been terribly inviting, even as Spring struggles to take hold. It dampens the spirit. I have watched the pond enlarge and shrink on a seemingly daily basis. The ones whose spirit is not dampened by the weather are the Mallards. The Mallards have returned! It’s the best part of this Spring, to be honest.
The Mallards have become accustomed to me. I will go out on the back stoop to simply watch them. They swim and frolic. There are little quarrels between bachelor males and the resident pair of drake and hen. Last Spring, the Mallards shared the pond with Wood Ducks. I hope the Wood Ducks return this Spring, too. They are shy, reclusive creatures with beautifully plumed males. These simple happenings just off the back stoop, and even the crocus which are struggling to push through the mulch in the front, are reminders of amazing diversity of creation.
If we read the first story of creation in the Bible, Genesis 1:1-2:3, we notice that God envisions creation, the entire cosmos, with a vast array of differences. Notice in verse 11, God calls plant life into being with great diversity. God says, “Earth: produce vegetation – plants that scatter their own seed, and every kind of fruit tree that bears fruit with its’ own seed in it!” (Gen 1:11, TIB). That same type of diversity is expected throughout the rest of the creation story. There is great diversity in vegetation, the celestial objects – stars, sun, moon, planets, and also for all the creatures of the land, sea, and air. God made all there is, seen and unseen, and filled it with an abundance of diversity.
I stand in awe of the diversity of creation. I am in awe of ducks who seem to find their way back to this little temporary pond in the backyard every Spring. I stand in awe of crocus pushing through soil and snow to blossom. I look to the sciences for explanations and understanding but continue to be in complete awe of what God has given us. It is humbling.
If you read the creation story all the way to chapter 2 verse 3, you will read the story of the seventh day of creation. Why is a day when nothing is created considered a day of creation? On that day, God created something as needed as the majesty of all creation which God made on the other six: God created sabbath. My mornings on the front porch are part of sabbath for me. Observing creation is part of sabbath for me. Sabbath isn’t just rest it is “holy rest”. God made us for sabbath, and the sabbath for us. We are meant to find time for holy rest.
These days of “shelter-in-place” are not restful, but my mornings alone with God on the porch are. God created holy rest for us to renew and refresh both body and soul. So why is this type of rest holy? Because when we come to rest, to stop and pay attention in a different way, God is there waiting to make our time alone with God holy. Holy rest is so important, that God created a day specifically for that purpose. How will you find holy rest today?