Turning hype into hope

Holy communion is a thanksgiving for creation

Holy Week and Creation: a comparison

God’s fifth love song for his creation

40 Blogs of Lent: Day 38

Red wine being poured into a glass.

The first chapter of the Book of Genesis is theology, but not theology as we know it. It is not the theology of learned people using the academic language for academic people, nor is it a historical account. It is certainly not science. What it is is a statement of God of his love for the universe he created. “God saw that it was good.”

This is God’s love song for creation.

There is a correlation with the events of Holy Week, from Jesus entering into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to being in the tomb on the following Saturday. It is not a perfect correlation, but there is enough similarity to make looking at it interesting. The events of Holy week fall into line with the love song of God for creation.

This is Jesus’ love song for the earth.


In the fifth song od love for his creation, God tells of the creation of intelligent life, birds and fish, life in three dimensions, that are not bound by the two dimensions of being bound by gravity to the earth but are free. Free to soar in the sky and in the waters.

On the fifth day of Holy Week the focus is also on freedom. The Passover, which Jesus celebrated with his disciples, is a celebration of freedom. Freedom for Israel from the oppression in Egypt. It is about hope, hope in God who frees us now.

God brings hope.

This morning I received an audio clip on Facebook Messanger. It began “A good friend of mine who is a doctor…” I am not doubting the sincerity of my friend, she heard the clip and passed it on believing it to be true. I also fall for things, I have passed on a quote attributed to Samuel Pepys, only to find it was a satire on the coronavirus epidemic. There is a lot of hype about. We need to turn hype into hope.

The communion service is about hope.

Firstly it is tied into creation. The eucharistic prayer itself is both a thanksgiving for creation and redemption and a  memorial of the passion and the incarnation of Jesus.

The Church of England’s new patterns for worship has this in the eucharistic prayer:

And now we give you thanks
because all things are of your making,
all times and seasons obey your laws,
but you have chosen to create us in your own image,
setting us over the whole world in all its wonder.
You have made us stewards of your creation,
to praise you day by day for the marvels of your wisdom and power:
so earth unites with heaven
to sing the new song of creation:

All  Holy, holy, holy Lord …

The image of God is recreated in us, we are a new creation in Christ because of hid death and resurrection dealt once and for all time with our sin, in our place and defeated evil. We are a new creation in Christ by the Father God who loves us through the Holy Spirit, the power of God within us. This gives the Christian hope.

But how do we bring hope to others in these dark times?  The communion service has the key. The last part of the communion service is important, it may be short, a final prayer, hymn (is it is a service with music) and blessing. But the prayer is vitally important.

“Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory,” we pray together. That is what the communion service is all about, it is commissioning of God’s people for his service. I cannot see how an inward-looking Christianity where I concentrate on my needs can exist. The communion service is not to serve me, it is to empower me so that I can go out to serve and empower others. We bring hope to the world by being the hope for the world.

This year we cannot get to the Maudy Thursday communion service. Restrictions on movement due to COVID-19 have seen to that. But we still have the Holy Spirit, we can still remember the death and resurrection of Jesus and we still have the commission to go out into the world for the Glory of God.

People in our Church have gone to their neighbours posting letters offering help. I cannot, being in a group that has been recommended to self-isolate; I am doing just that, isolating with my wife who is working from home. We are three weeks into 12 weeks of isolation with no guarantee that that period will not be extended. My son and daughter-in-law are shopping for us and bringing the occasional unexpected treat, for which we are really grateful.

But I have a computer and the internet, I can contact people this way.  The internet brings hype, but I can use it to spread hope because I believe in a God of hope. I know who is in control. It is not a mindless virus, nor is it my government, although I am following their guidelines: The God of love is in control. This gives me hope and also joy, peace and love to share.

May God bless you and those you love in these troubled times.


 

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds[g] fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
Genesis 1:20–23

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for[b] you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[c] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 ESVUK

 

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