“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
– Genesis 1:2
“Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
– Matthew 28:18
Humanity is experiencing trying times, when we think things can’t get worse, they do. The events of the last 3 months with this Coronavirus has tested humanity in ways we never imagined. The concept of 369,000 deaths worldwide, and 105,000 of those deaths occurring in the United States as of May 30, 20 is mind boggling. Persons in the funeral home business, called death care workers, are working at a feverish pace trying to keep up with the demand for their services while also trying to appropriately support grieving families. But then things got worse when we learned of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN on Monday, May 25th when a callous White police officer knelt on the neck of Mr. Floyd, a Black man, for over 8 minutes in spite of Mr. Floyd saying he couldn’t breathe. Our nation was reeling from that when on Wednesday, just 2 days later, a White woman called the police on an African American male who was bird watching in Central Park because he asked her to leash her dog, which by the way was a posted requirement. But instead of doing so which would have ended the matter, she lied telling the police that she and her dog were being threatened by him. With such heart wrenching times occurring in our lives, we need to hear a word from God, and I will attempt to be God’s conduit for that word.
In bible study we’ve been studying a book by Thom Rainer, called “I Will,” essentially it’s a book on how the body of Christ can function harmoniously. Before that can happen, you need to understand God’s design for Creation, notably, God created and said it was good. Nothing humanity does, not even humanity’s actions which seem bent on destroying what God has created can change that God created all things good. Humanity seems to have a welcome mat out for racism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism which all equal xenophobia - the intense and irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries or simply, anyone not like oneself. These isms are more than personal idiosyncrasies, they are destructive behaviors that weaken the body of Christ, this matters because the U.S.A. claims to be a Christian nation. If African Americans had not been in this country for more than 400 years, I might not be so outraged. But the fact that we have survived enslavement in this country and still encounter daily assaults on our personhood keeps me praying; I pray that I, and other African Americans, don’t respond to injustice and hate, with injustice and hate.
Did you notice in the Genesis scripture that before God created anything else after having created the heavens and the earth, God’s presence hovered above the waters taking stock of what was, before God created what would come into being: light, darkness, sky, land, seas, vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees, sun, moon and stars, all living creatures in the waters, birds, livestock, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals and finally creating man and woman. It is clear that God created a good world in spite of humanity’s efforts to act ungodly in God’s world. Genesis chapter 1 makes it clear that we owe God a tremendous debt for God’s handiwork. The Matthew passage adds another dimension to our understanding of the debt we owe God for creating, shaping, and filling Creation. It makes it clear that humanity has been given power to go to all nations starting here in the United States which sadly is sinking further and further into the abyss because persons in power are seeking more and more individual power even when doing so costs human life and property, what they are doing is engaging in the isms that divide us. Why start in the U.S.? Because you shouldn’t go to minister to others until you have first ministered to people at home, what’s that saying, charity begins at home. Also, it’s an issue of not being hypocritical, attempting to take the speck out of other people’s eyes when we have a beam in our own eye as Matthew chapter 7 says.
In Jesus’ day there were no cars, trains or planes so when Jesus told the disciples to go to all nations in the Matthew scripture, Jesus was instructing them to go to the people in and around Galilee, it wasn’t until Paul was on the scene that Jesus’ message really spread outside of the Galilean area. If you believe that Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth, as it also says in the Matthew passage, then you must live out that belief: your words, behavior, and even your thoughts must demonstrate your belief in the power of Christ to calm the raging seas in this nation and in your life. In times such as these, you must hold onto your hope and belief in the power of Christ. This is what the Genesis and Matthew scriptures are saying in different ways.
It is important to know that while God was hovering over the waters, God was engaging with what God had just created and that which God would soon create. Creation was formless and empty, God knew the numerous possibilities that awaited Creation so God gave shape to formless Creation. God cares deeply for humanity, that is why God took His time creating the world and saved the creation of humanity for last. The creation of humanity required God to do God’s best work building into humanity the many mental contradictions. You see, it was always God’s intention to create human life from human life after God created the first man, Adam. Eve was created from Adam’s rib thus providing human DNA added to divine engineering. Then God gave Adam and Eve the ability to procreate, to have children, thus creating more humans that would populate the earth. The Genesis passage tells you that God created, God shaped, and God filled all because God hovered, this means God cared about what God created.
God continues to care about this world that God created and all the people in it, and wants all the people in the world to care for one another but we are too selfish and shortsighted to follow God’s plan. America must deal with its first sin, racism, that has caused the dominant class to devalue the lives of African Americans from our introduction to this land as chattel slaves, devaluing the lives of men, women and even children. Although evil is everywhere, the evil of racism seems particularly pernicious on these shores which causes African Americans and other persons of good will to fear that this nation is spiraling toward destruction because as I Corinthians chapter 12 makes clear, the body cannot function well without all of it’s members working together. That is the case with the human body and with the body politic, and is most assuredly the case in the body of Christ; diversity of function is necessary for the many parts to be a functioning whole. Humanity must wrestle with the sin in our midst, you and I know what that sin is here in the United States of America, let us fervently pray that America has sufficient courage and faith in the body of Christ to look the evil scourge of racism, and all the other isms, in the face and say, be gone in Jesus’ name. Genesis chapter 1 records that God created and Matthew chapter 28 records the Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth which means God’s good creation can work harmonious together if we allow Jesus to exercise complete authority in our lives. It is past time we do so in these United States of America.