This Easter season (remember, we’re still within the “great 50 days” or the season from Easter Sunday to Pentecost), we take time to explore the core foundations of the Christian faith. This series on The Apostles’ Creed explores the basic theological understandings of one of Christianity’s earliest statements of belief.
This week, we begin at the beginning. The Creed opens, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” Beginning with the creation text, we are told about a divine presence of power and wisdom, creativity and compassion. And throughout the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, we consistently read statements and commandments of love. This week, we will explore our creator God and how we are called to live fully into God’s image.
Genesis 1:1-5 (CEB)
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
1 John 4:7-13 (CEB)
GOD’S LOVE AND OURS
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.
Consider these questions:
- The two texts chosen for this opening of this series focus clearly on creation and on love. Does this fall in line with your understanding of God? If so, how? If not, what scriptures come to mind?
- Consider the parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant (if you’re not familiar, try The Google). Are there things you know about God that could be just a part of a greater understanding? What do you think you don’t know about God?
- The text from 1 John claims that “whoever does not love does not know God.” Think about this authentically for a moment. What does this say to you? What does it say about you? What does it say about the world?
Post-Worship Update on 5/7
Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found at this link (will open in a new tab).
Sunday’s message focused not only on the essence of God, but also what that means for us today. In short, we noted from the creation story in Genesis 2 includes the theological statement that we are created in the image of God; and the 1 John passage includes the theological statement that God is love. If we affirm these statements, then it stands to reason that we are created in the image of love.
One of our worshipers on Sunday was inspired by this idea and shared with me the following poem written on the back of a bulletin:
God is love I have been told
He isn’t silver, He isn’t gold
He may be found in the remote most parts
But best of all He’s in our hearts.
This understanding of God is so theologically rich! God is love, is greater than material values, and is big enough to be both far away and intimately close. This is amazing! It is my hope that you, too, will be inspired to explore how you think of God, the Creator of the universe.
Consider these questions:
- Early in the message, I asked the congregation a question that I now turn to you as a reader of this page: What do you think God looks like?
- What do you think of the assertion above that humanity is made in the image of love? What does it mean to you? What does it change for you theologically? What does it change for you practically?
- How have you been inspired by God? How have you been inspired by love?