In the beginning God created…and God saw that it was good.
The only meaning we can give to the constant refrain, “God saw that it was good,” is God’s approval of a work as having been fashioned in accordance with that art which is His own wisdom.” St. Augustine, City of God.
Time seemed to have moved slowly as we drifted towards Christmas. The close of the “long green season” rolled into Advent as the weather slowly segued from hot towards cool days. Advent arrived without too much fanfare; we seem to have simply assumed the new season as we traded our short sleeve shirts for sweaters and windbreakers. And then there was Christmas.
In the beginning God created. In the first chapter of Genesis and echoed in the first chapter of John, we relive the proclamation of divine intention and perfect will. God’s perfect will is described in detail, but we know his will through our devotion and the revelation of the Holy Spirit. God created is a reality, not simply words on a page; because not only are we in relation with the triune God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but also because we are a part the whole of creation as created beings. Even in its flawed and fallen state, creation itself resonates with the power of God as God faithfully draws us closer to spiritually reveal the divine presence in all things.
Advent prepared us; Christmas revealed us; Epiphany sends us; and soon (just 4 weeks away) Lent will consume us. I know that we mostly think of church seasons as something we do, but in reality, they are something that is done to us. Living in the world, we move along with the rhythm of the physical seasons. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter are words to describe the physical changes we must adapt to and they trigger physical responses. We do not question raking leaves, storing summer clothes, winterizing the lawn equipment, and getting the snow shovel out of storage. We simply do these things as the season demands. As these seasons change around us, so to the seasons of God’s presence manifest within us.
Advent prepared our spirits to receive God as present in promise and person, and to receive the fulfillment of our lives in Jesus. Christmas revealed to us that Jesus came and is coming into the world, but it also revealed that He is coming again and again to our hearts, minds, and spirits. Epiphany sends us away from the self we are as people of the world and draws us to the companionship of Christ.
We have little time left as we rocket through Epiphany. The changes around us propel us even as we live the seasons of the church year within us. Focus on the seasons that have passed as present within this minute. You receive, are revealed, and are sent not outward, but inward. These next four weeks of focus will serve you well as we anticipate what comes next and is already here: Lent, in which we are consumed.
…and God saw that it was good.
Making sense of it all,
Father Bill Burk†