More Than "Nothing"
The following is an excerpt from an Advent Devotional written by Rev. Linda Middelberg, Capitol Area North Superintendent:
My Old Testament professor said that a better translation of the Hebrew in Genesis 1:1 is “When God began to create.” Even before there was time or space, there was God! I have never liked the idea of “creation from nothing.” There was never “nothing” because there was always God.
I like to think of it like this.
When God began to create, God took an oh so small pinch from God’s self and sent it out into the void to fill the nothingness with light and life. Because all things began with this tiny particle of the divine self, all things will be drawn back to their origins - back to God. Because all things began with this tiny particle of the divine self, all things are connected to God and through God to each other.
In the beginning, we did not come from nothing, we came from God and in the end, we will not go back to nothing but back to the beginning from which we came. Our time begins and ends in God.
Creator God, forgive us when we forget our origins and our ultimate destination. Help us to remember that all of creation is connected and on this journey through time together. Amen.
During Advent, I am reminded how much God has given, is giving, and will continue to give to each one of us. As the Psalmist says, our bodies and everything we are and everything that provides sustenance for us, has been awesomely and wonderfully made by God! What a joy to contemplate!
So, my brothers and sisters, in this season when we stop to remember how much God gives of God’s self to us, it is appropriate to reflect on what we are called to give as disciples of Jesus Christ. As pastors and leaders of those who are in the process of becoming disciples, what are we called to give to the Church of Jesus Christ called United Methodist, to the connectional ministries of the church from which we all benefit?
As leaders in local churches who are disciples, we all benefit from the connectional system that allows us all to participate in the Mission of God with those in our local communities and around the world to alleviate poverty, disease, infant mortality, and provide pure water for communities who would perish without it. We do these things because God gives and because God loved the world and human beings so much that God gave God’s self, wrapped in the beauty of humanity that if anyone believed he or she would have eternal and everlasting life.
As I was growing up, there is a song that I learned to sing in my local UM congregation that says “You can’t beat God giving...no matter how you try.” But the Good News God does not ask us to beat God at giving, God just asks us to give... And my response, and your response, to God should always be better than “nothing.”
We, the staff of the Miami Valley District, are an incarnation of the connectional ministry of our church that is funded and blessed by your apportionment dollars. In this season of giving, we give thanks for your faithfulness in the many ways we live out our connectionalism.
May the altruist nature and the joy with which of God gives; capture your heart, your mind, and your spirits.