Our Constantly Creating God

Taking time to notice the ongoing work of the maker of heaven and earth.

Jon's Grandfather's plant in his office

God loves to create …

God continues to create in God’s world and in our lives.

A deep awareness of God’s ongoing creative work is one of the gifts people living in rural and small town contexts across this earth often carry with them. Whether they live on the rolling grazing land of ranches, in deep forests, in beautiful places with lakes, hills or mountains where people are drawn to relax, or the flat or rolling fields of dark soil that grow our food, their spirituality is often marked by a deep awareness of God’s creative love and power. Farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other rural people’s spirituality has a strong connection to the first articles of the Apostles’ or Nicene Creeds. That connection can be a gift from rural and small town communities to share with God’s urban and suburban communities. Maybe you also carry this gift?

The Apostles’ Creed speaks about our God as the “creator of heaven and earth.”  The Nicene Creed lifts up this same theme. God is the “maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen”. Regardless of what context you live in, when you get down on your knees in your garden to plant seeds, even though you might know all the biology, yet the mystery of God’s ongoing creation sparks your gratitude for the gift of plants, for beauty, and for food to share. 

As a child growing up on a dairy farm, I always liked the language of “seen and unseen” in the Nicene Creed. It reminded me the work of God was ongoing and beyond my understanding.  In so many ways we can see the work of our mysterious and gracious God. And yet as I grew up we had little awareness fifty years ago about what scientists continue to discover about the size of our universe and the universe inside a handful of soil. I wonder what God will reveal to us next about God’s creation? 

What do you help grow?

People tease me about the plants I grow in my office. In the winter times of my life, those plants remind me that our constantly creating God is at work in this world and in our lives. They are a reminder that the “Maker of All” continues to create in my life and around me in the people I know and various human communities. As I watch the tiny leaves grow as the days pass, I am reminded that God continues to create new life, new relationships and new possibilities for our life and our life together.

Jon watering his plants. Photo by Sitraka Rakotoarivelo

[The author with some of his office plants. Photo by Sitraka Rakotoarivelo.]

As people plan and plant gardens, they are drawn into a deeper awareness of God’s ongoing creative power. They watch their plants sprout, grow, flower and produce fruit or beauty. I invite you to watch your neighbor child grow with even more appreciation and wonder. Notice the way people in recovery are being recreated by a God who will not give up on us and longs to see our lives whole. Even for those of us whose hair is gray, look and notice God’s ongoing creation in your life as you live into this season of your life. Our living and loving God keeps calling you in new ways to love God’s world and your neighbors.

A God who tends

What you believe about God matters. We believe that our God continues to create as we enjoy and live in the amazing creation of God that we often take for granted in the hustle and bustle of our lives. God calls us to care for God’s creation around us. God gives us particular callings to serve our neighbor and God’s creation in the daily mission field of our lives. 

One of my teachers, Gerhard Forde, noted how we often turn our spiritual lives into a way to climb up to God through our good works and efforts to become a better Christian. He would remind us in most classes that the real wonder of life is that the Creator of all life wants to be in relationship with us.

Our living and creating God, whom we know most deeply through Jesus, reveals God’s passion to create wholeness in our lives and all of God’s creation. Jesus reveals God’s longing to make people whole as Jesus teaches, heals, loves, forgives and suffers to create new life for us in spite of our rebellions and broken-ness of many kinds. That passion ultimately led to the cross where the depth of broken-ness in us and creation becomes clear. Jesus reveals God’s resurrecting grace and longing to make all of God’s creation whole including our lives. God’s resurrecting grace continues to call us back to new life like a patient shepherd keeps calling the flock home. 

Soon we will celebrate Pentecost, where we remember God’s creating Spirit that created the community of Jesus and sustains it along with all life. I recently was visiting with my brother who had been delivering calves earlier that day. It reminded me of the amazing moment when a newborn lamb, calf, or human takes their first breath.  

I remember watching my father or mother working to save a lamb when that first breath did not come. They would clear the animal’s mouth and stick a straw down their throat or nose to see if they could stimulate a gag and take a breath. If nothing happened they would clear the mouth and start breathing into the lamb’s mouth seeking to save it. When we are in trouble or stuck, God breathes life into our lives … and communities … and world.  

There are fresh expressions of God’s creation day after day after day. Our living God creates in our lives, in our communities, in our congregations and in God’s Church. Once we catch our breath, we begin to sing with all of God’s creation our praise of our God who continues to create here and now.

Psalm 148 

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
    he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.[a]

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
    stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
    creeping things, and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
    old and young together!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his glory is above earth and heaven.He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his faithful,
    for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

Next steps 

As you travel through today and the coming days, notice God’s creating grace at work in your life, the lives of others, God’s Church and God’s world. You can think it, you can say it quietly, or out loud: “Praise the Lord.”

  • Jon Anderson

    Pastor Jon Anderson serves as Director of Rural Ministry at Luther Seminary. He recently completed eighteen years of service as bishop in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA.

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