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Rev. Brennan Hurley
Pastor: Stonington United Methodist Church
Associate Pastor: First United Methodist Church in Taylorville
The Common English Bible translation has a provocative opening: “When God began to create the heavens and the earth…” Most other translations use the past tense, something like, “when God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1 and the first few verses of Genesis 2 then lay out the seven “days” of creation, culminating with the creation of humanity on the sixth day and God’s rest on the seventh. Since it uses the present tense, the CEB translation gives readers permission to ask, “what if creation isn’t over?” Or more plainly, “what if we are still in day six?”
Sidebar: now, you may want to interject here something about creation being seven literal 24-hour days. I’m not sure that’s a necessary conclusion of Genesis. “Day” here (“yom” in the original Hebrew) seems to mean something more like “unspecified period of time.” Have you ever said “back in the day”? You didn’t mean a specific 24-hour period; you meant an unspecified period of time. That’s the way Genesis 1 uses “day.”
Back to my question: what if we are still in day six? Jeremiah 18 gives us a glimpse of God’s message about a potter and his clay to the aforementioned prophet, “Can’t I deal with you like this potter, declares the Lord? Like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in mine, house of Israel!” (Jer 18:6, CEB) I say again, what if we are still in day six? What if the rotating earth is just God’s spinning potter’s wheel? What if God is stretching, shaping, molding us as we speak? Part of Christian discipleship is saying “God, do with me what you will.” God does not leave us to our own devices. We are beloved as we are, whomever we are, but God is not in the business of leaving us as we are. God wants to mold our shame and regret, fears and failures, sin and brokenness into joy, hope, peace, patience, and love. We are never too old or too stuck in our ways for the holy potter to bring us into his house. Creation is God’s passion project, and God will stop at nothing to fulfill it. God is determined to have us, determined to love us here on day six and forevermore.