Muddled, Cloudy, and almost Unclear

Do you remember the phone game as kids? You recall; it’s the game where you start with a word, phrase, or idea and whisper it to each consecutive player around the circle only to find out that the message was somehow tarnished by the time it made back to the start. Or more recently, I was introduced to the paper game. The goal is pretty much the same as the telephone game, but, instead of whispering, you draw and describe the previous player’s message. No doubt you are reminiscing and thinking back to laugh out loud moments with friends and family as the new messages were being compared to the original. This is an interesting concept if you stop to consider what is actually happening around the circle. In short the message is muddled, cloudy, and unclear by the time it reaches it final destination.

Recently I’ve been listening to a sermon series on the book of Job. This is a fascinating tale of a man who loses everything and is torn down to a shadow of his former self, yet still remains faithful to God, the Creator. The book makes me scratch my head. As soon as we’re introduced to the plot of Job in the first three chapters, we’re made to be witnesses to a dialogue between Job and his friends and family for thirty-five more chapters before God shows up. After this long and tedious drawn out conversation full of accusations against Job, God enters the scene with a list of rhetorical questions pointed at Job. This list of question starts in chapter 37 and runs through chapter 40, read it.  It’s completely unexpected, a little strange, and at the same time astonishing and very telling of the character of God.

Job is commanded to stop and consider the wonders of God. This is a man beaten up, beaten down, sick, wounded, in pain, alone with nothing except his name that he can call his own. And he is commanded to consider the wonders of God. He is then taken on a journey through the cosmos,through the very beginning of creation, with an up close look at the beasts of the earth, fish in the sea, and birds of the air. All of this driving to the pivot point:

The Lord said to Job:

Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!”

Then Job answered the Lord:

“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more.”

In light of massiveness of God the Creator and Creation, Job is reminded that we have no answer. Job has nothing that can compare to the Almighty. The Creation message holds a deeper and more profound meaning than simply the origin of life.  Where is this message in current Christian culture? This message has been muddled, and we glance at an unclear picture that is supposed to capture our hearts.  It speaks to the massiveness of the creation and the innovative, prolific, and pure creativity of the Creator.  This message communicates God’s love for His entire creation.  The physical created order is held dear to his heart and it is the whole creation that he plans to redeem. It is so important to God that He would use it as proof to Job that He is great.

Need I remind you that we are physical beings living in the created order? Creation was not produced to be  used up, wore out, and left behind.  It was intended to be redeemed wholly. This is the muddled, cloudy, unclear message that we must somehow clear up.  The time has come for the Christian community to step up and start taking back the Creation for the Kingdom of God.  It is true we are, as with Job, unworthy and have no answer when compared to Creation and even less worthy when compared to God, but this did not stop God the Father from sending Jesus to die to redeem us.  Christ died to redeem the entire Creation and we are called to take part in that redemption.

If we are called to reclaim creation for the Kingdom of God, how does this change our choices with regard to our daily lives? Does it affect the food we decide to eat? Do we know where our food comes from and how that source affects creation? How does the way we work, play, and live aid in the redemption of the world? Is it too late to brighten the muddled, cloudy, and unclear message that is in reality bursting forth through creation? This is God’s world, everything in it, and we should accept the call to participate in its redemption no matter how small or insignificant we might feel. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

-SD

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