2012-10-24 / Editorial

Jim Shumard


This was something I wrote for morning chapel at EBA where the theme was, “BLAST FROM THE PAST.” All the kids were dressed up from times gone by so I thought I would speak of a time before time. I tried to imagine captive Israelites refuting Babylon’s stories of creation where so much blood was spilled to create the heavens and the earth. Here is my imagined response from an imaginative Israelite mystic.

BLAST FROM THE PAST In the beginning, indeed before the beginning there was God. Before anything was, God is, God was and God is to be, world without end. Our Awesome God, The Great I Am, the Ground of All being, the Creator, The Lord of the heavens and the earth and all peoples and nations. Sit there Babylonian and listen to what really happened. In the beginning, there was void, nothingness, chaos. And the spirit of our loving God hovered over the void, the chaos, the emptiness. And then like a Big Bang, God spoke, God simply spoke. No blood was spilled. There was no conspiracy, no politics, no war of the gods. There was no need for magic potions or complicated incantations. And nobody was killed so that we might exist. God simply spoke and creation came to be in a flash from the past. God spoke and there was light, there was earth and sky there was water, there was land, there was sun to warm the land and moon to make waves. God’s Petri dish was ready. God spoke and there were fishes in the sea and birds in the air all things that swim and fly And God saw that it was good. And then God spoke And immediately there were creepy crawly creatures all over the place The platypus, the crocodile, fruit flies, and sand gnats, lions, tigers and bears. Panda bears, polar bears, Koala bears, Grizzly bears, black bears and maybe teddy bears.

And God spoke and human beings came into existence, God’s special work of nature. God created us in His image, male and female in his image he created us. Not to be his slaves or anyone else’s slaves. No one, male or female, Babylonian or Jew should be treated less than that! And then God spoke to all whom he had made and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Love one another. Create families, live in peace and love. I give to you all of creation as your charge. Be good stewards. Do not kill in all my lands. Lions and lambs lie down together. Let the wolf and the child should play together. Let there be no swords or spears, but only plows and gardening tools. And God saw all that God had made And not only was it good, but it was very good. Not one drop of blood was spilled to create us. I can imagine the Babylonian listeners responding to this story, “That is all very creative of you. That is all very nice and very utopian of you, but why is there so much violence in the world? Why are you slaves and we your masters? Why is all creation crazy and out of whack? I can imagine us responding to that question today.” Well that is a story for another day. Suffice it to say that we messed up pretty badly. Indeed we trashed creation and we trashed one another but we tell a new story today.” In this story blood was spilled. In this story violence was done. In this story the only blood spilled was that of God’s own Son Not to create but to redeem all creation! And then God spoke from that cross. “Father forgive them.” And God saw that it was good. It was very good. Dr. Jim+

“For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face.” I Corinthians 13.12 KJV.

Rev. Shumard is rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Waynesboro. You may contact him at jshumie@aol.com or at stmichaelswaynesboro.org.

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