Happy New Year

Day one

Prayer for the day

Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.

Scripture for the day

Genesis 1-3, Matthew 1

I suppose the best way to start is at the beginning.

Today we read through Israel’s creation story paralleled with Jesus’s creation story, so to speak. I’ve noticed that a lot of people get hung up on the mechanics of the creation story but miss some of the broader strokes of what’s going on…what I like to think of as the “rhythm of creation.” You can see rhythm inherent in both stories we read today.

In Genesis, we see God creating light, sea and sky, and ground and plants. Then he creates things that connect to those initial creations. Sun and moon, birds and fish, and finally animals and us. It’s a great 6/8 rhythm, that God only breaks up for a holy day to rest and enjoy the rhythm.

In Matthew, we get a similar feel for rhythm. Three groups of fourteen generations, from Abraham to Jesus, are included in the initial genealogy. Here God includes a similar break. Jesus stands as the last generation, and is killed without children. In both stories, however, God expands the meaning of the rhythm. In Genesis, Sabbath is gradually understood to be not merely a break, but a miraculous gift, given not only to the Hebrews but to their servants and even to strangers. The break in the rhythm of generations in Matthew eventually extends sonship (and daughtership) to the world. The direct line of Jesus remains unbroken and becomes expanded through our adoption. In both stories, God does the unexpected.

In both, God does his good work in mysterious ways. And in both, God’s rhythm and the beaks in the rhythm show not a disorganized God but a God whose grand plan is far more exciting and wonderful than we could imagine.

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3 thoughts on “Happy New Year

  1. thanks for this. the rhythm does seem musical, but i wonder about the breaks and divisions. I noticed that king David’s note in matthew ! is italicized with, ” that had been the wife of Urias” . the the three sets of fourteen generations are broken up by sin, captivity and death. and in genesis, the original creation act is upended by the fall of people. that state of rest that God institutes as the Sabbath… i wonder how long that lasted, originally. to follow the analogy- as if the miraculous gift was the repeat button to the creation song that God wrote. or, God’s talk with adam and eve after they disobeyed as Him putting the needle back in the groove after it had skipped off. i guess my problem with the current rhythm of creation is that i can’t seem to appreciate the God instituted quality of rest- Can’t breath long enough to sing the next phrase- for all of the interruptions and divisions that seem to pervade the song. how long did the Babylonian captivity last? long enough to consume entire lives? not long enough to consume the entirety of creation, obviously. Jesus rose again after all and now we inherit the heritage? or the promise of it?

  2. Josh, good questions here. The captivity lasted long enough!! It was roughly (if I remember my history well) 70 years, which is enough to consume lives. The point of the story however is not the length of the sabbath, but the institution of it. It is less about individuals resting and more about how creation has been ordered and arranged. We certainly inherit the rhythm, or at least we ought to! I know what you mean about not having the time to take time off. That’s why the gift is so important.

    Blessings.

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