Sermon Series “In the Beginning”

Four week series on the creation story

Video MessageResources
Week 1:
A Better Story
Monday Memo notes

– As prep for the next three sermons, it might be wise to reacquaint yourself with the biblical creation account: Genesis 1-2
– Use these three Psalms, each focused on the wonder of creation, during your devotional time: 
  Psalm 8 NRSVA
Psalm 19 NRSVA
Psalm 139 NRSVA
– The Babylonian creation epic is 1100 lines long (a few pages in length). If you want to check out the whole thing for yourself, and get the big story behind Pastor Chris’ consolidated overview in yesterday’s sermon: ENUMA ELISH
– Check out this article from a preeminent American Old Testament scholar on the differences, and even some of the similarities, between the Enuma Elish and Genesis 1-2: Genesis 1 and a Babylonian Creation Story
– In 2016, our denomination (the PCUSA) approved its 3+ page Affirmation of Creation. It’s really well written and does a great job of talking through the compatibility of science and faith. It’s worth a look if for no other reason because it’s one of the resources being used for our “In The Beginning” series.
Week 2:
And It Was Good
Monday Memo notes

– Interested how the findings of the modern sciences sync up well with this understanding of Genesis 1-2? Check out the BioLogos resource archive – the first two links below are for specific articles you might appreciate, while the third is to their resource page about creation and the sciences: 
  Evolutionary Creation is for Everyone
  God’s Good Chaos
– We can’t overestimate the importance of spiritual rest in our lives, not when you see the Sabbath in all its wonder and depth as portrayed in Genesis 2.1-3. How are you doing at purposeful rest? You may feel like it’s impossible in your life, but remember – we break the law of rest woven into the cosmos at our own peril and ultimately at great cost to ourselves. Use the following to help you explore how you can prioritize Sabbath rest: 
  The Key to the Keys to the Kingdom – Dallas Willard
  The Spiritual Discipline of Rest – Richella Parham
  Podcast: Solitude · Sabbath with Small Kids · When Grown Kids Leave the Church
– Spend this week “seeing” each day of creation in Genesis 1 as “good”:
Tomorrow = Pause, see, and enjoy the sunrise or sunset, that is, the passing of light into darkness, or darkness into light. (Day 1 of creation)
  Wednesday = Pause, see, and admire the different spheres of creation, the wide sky above us, and the ground and sea with us. (Day 2 of creation)
  Thursday = Pause, see, and appreciate vegetation of all kinds and varieties. Walk in the grass or dirt barefoot. Smell the autumn trees and leaves. Admire the fall colors. (Day 3 of creation)
  Friday = Pause, see, and feel the warmth of the sun, and find the moon in the night sky. (Day 4 of creation)
  Saturday = Pause, see, and admire the great variety of fish and birds. Try to find a bird flying above. Or just ponder these videos for awhile – 2 Hours of Beautiful Coral Reef Fish, Relaxing Ocean Fish, & Stunning Aquarium Relax Music or 8 Hours of Beautiful Birds (No Music) 4K Nature Relaxation™. (Day 5 of creation)
  Next Sunday = Pause, see, and admire animal life. Play with your dog or cat, and be thankful. Or just spend some time being amazed by these videos: ONE HOUR of Amazing Animal Moments and Planet Zoo Cinematic – LOTS of Animals! [4K]
Week 3:
Made in
God’s Image
Monday Memo notes

Explore Creation Care This Week
– Short videos of Christian biblical scholars talking about the scriptural mandate to care for creation: 
Creation Care | Genesis 1 | Biblical Context Explained
Christians and Creation Care: What the Bible Says about Environmental Stewardship (Sandra Richter)
Christians and the Environment: Seven Minute Seminary
 – Practical ideas for how you, in your little part of the world, can care for creation: 
31 Ways To Care For Creation 
Seven practical ways to care for creation
– Get to know Wendell Berry, one of the great Christian environmental activists of the last 100 years…the first is short clip entitled “Now We’re Hearing from the World,” the second is one of his most moving poems about creation care entitled, “A Vision,” and the third is to an introductory anthology of his essays and poetry: 
  Wendell Berry: “Now We’re Hearing from the World”
  “A Vision” by Wendell Berry
World-Ending Fire
– Two good resource pages on the Christian practice of creation care: 
Creation Care – The Episcopal Church
  Creation Care – Lausanne Movement
– Our own denomination’s initiative to encourage congregations to care for and nurture creation:  Presbyterian Mission Agency Earth Care Congregations
Week 4:
Dirt, Spirit,
Rescue, and Covenant
Monday Memo notes

1. Two scripture reading options for you: 
 – First, read through Genesis 3-4, 6-9, and 11, because these chapters are the unspooling or breaking of God’s intention and hopes for creation that we’ve been studying in Genesis 1-2. You’ll note a lot of direct inversions – God created things to be one way, and the exact opposite happens: 
Genesis 3-4 NRSVA
Genesis 6-9 NRSVA
Genesis 11.1-9 NRSVA
 – Second, the Bible uses so much language and imagery from Genesis 1-2 when describing God’s Kingdom, “heaven,” Christ, salvation, or God’s final victory in history. We mentioned some of those during Communion yesterday. For another example, check out Revelation 22.1-5 NRSVA
2. Some helpful questions for you to dig deeper into Genesis 2 as a whole, and reflect on it meaningfully: The Garden | Masterpiece
3. A six part podcast series from BioLogos on the uniqueness of human beings, entitled “Uniquely Unique”
4. Much like you can only understand Genesis 1 if you take it in its historical context, same goes for Genesis 2…there is a recently-discovered ancient Mesopotamian ritual that sheds a tremendous amount of light on what we’re supposed to take away from the 2nd chapter of Genesis…this is really insightful and pretty cool!: The Ancient Near East and Genesis 2
5. Some wise, practical advice if you’re feeling lonely:
17 Easy Things To Do When You’re Feeling Lonely
20 Ways to Feel Less Lonely and More Connected