Seeing God’s Will for Life

Mark 4:26-34

This morning we’re going to wrestle a bit with the age old question, “Where is God?”  As has been discussed a couple of times in the past few weeks, the old belief for our faith forebears was that God was inside the temple, in the space called the Holy of Holies.  We know now of course that God is everywhere in the universe and we are reminded that God is not confined to a human construct when we hear that the curtain in the temple ripped in two at the moment Jesus died on the cross.  That’s a visual and auditory reminder, we can kind of visualize and hear what that sounds like, a reminder that God is not confined to a particular time and space but is indeed everywhere.

Which is probably fair enough given that God created everything.

What is pretty amazing is how the order of creation from the moment of the big bang lines up remarkably well with the creation account in Genesis.  Creation doesn’t happen in 7 24 hour days, of course.  Constraining God to a human calendar is a little like thinking we can constrain God to the Holy of Holies.  But when you look how the pattern of the universe forming, then the stars and solar system, followed by life, reptiles, mammals and so on and compare that to the creation account in Genesis 1 the similarities are striking.  What is key here is to see the pattern of creation and rather than finding fault in some of the details that don’t line up precisely, find your wonder and awe that an ancient people were so in touch with God and creation that they mapped it out in a way very closely related to what science lays out for us in the last 100 years.

The other thing I like about the pattern of creation in both the evolutionary and biblical perspective is that a pattern frequently indicates intent.  I’m comforted by the fact that God’s creation is not a random mishmash of atoms that got smashed together out of some primordial soup.  God put creation into motion on purpose and in accordance with God’s will for creation.  And that will, God’s will is an ongoing thing.  The universe didn’t get spun up in a massive explosion of energy and then left to its own devices.  God is still very much present with us and will be forever.

We may not always see God’s will at work in creation.  There are some pretty sketchy things going on in creation that I’ve got some questions about.  There are some terminal diseases that I’d like some answers about, specifically Huntington’s disease.  That has no business in creation yet some of us have too much experience with Huntington’s.  There are several other diseases and afflictions that you can probably name and have some questions about.  There have been some weather events over the years that I’d like some explanations, too.  The bomb cyclone and flooding earlier this spring is something Nebraska and surrounding states are going to be dealing with for quite some time.  It is hard to pick out God’s will in these things. The one thing I am certain about is that it isn’t God’s will to punish people for being bad.  God didn’t send a bomb cyclone through Nebraska because the people of Nebraska are bad.  That’s not how this works.  We just spend all of LAST Sunday celebrating why that isn’t how it works.  Christ dying on the cross and returning to life three days later tells me loudly and clearly that this isn’t how it works.  I guess I’ll take it on faith that God is in control even when it seems out of control to my mind.

Parables can help us with that hope, with that faith.  Parables tell us stories about God and the kingdom of God in ways that we CAN grasp.  A parable on seeds is particularly timely right now because many of us are involved with planting seeds.  Why do we do plant seeds?  Because we know that from a small seed many good things can spring forth.  Even when we don’t understand how that works (though some of us do know now, thanks to science).

This parable helps us grasp what the kingdom of God is like.  Like spreading seed on the ground, God is at work in the world and from seemingly small, at least to us, seemingly small things that are leading into great things.  And all this is happening even when we have no understanding of what they are or how that works.  Like Neil DeGrasse Tyson says, “The universe is under no obligation to make sense to us.”  Likewise, God has given us what God wants us to know about faith, right here in our Bibles.  Very few of us understand all of that, I know I certainly don’t.  At yet our faith tells us that God is present in our lives, even when things don’t make sense.

Notwithstanding the universe or God making sense to us, what we are reassured by is that in the spreading seed parable, we know that the seed will sprout, fruit will be harvested, then the plant will wither and die.  Only to begin the cycle yet again.  There is no end to the cycle of seeds being sown and likewise there is no end to the kingdom of God.

This is a tremendous message of hope. Hope that in spite of the storms in life we don’t understand, God is very much present with us and active in our lives.

A message of hope that we’re passing on this morning.  Your faith formation class put together seed packet for take home us.  They’re on the table out in the commons and you’re invited to take one for yourself.  If you’re not up for planting flowers for whatever reason then maybe you know someone you could deliver a packet to.  Might be a good time to talk about faith and Spirit of Hope.  One way or the other, a good way to think about God and how God remains active in creation.

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