Genesis 1.1–2.4a The Creation of the World
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
“This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to the God who is Trinity.”
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty
early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;
holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty,
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Today, Trinity Sunday, is a day when we need to sit back and reflect on the nature and ‘who’ of God. Indeed, throughout the Old Testament, in books from Genesis to the Psalms and then throughout the amazing and challenging visions of the prophets, what we find is a very beautiful vision and poetry about God, one that affirms and declares God as Creator. God and God’s power is ultimately observed and recognised as creative.
In the nature and ‘who’ of God, the second verse of the famous Trinity hymn by Reginald Heber, gives us a glorious image of God who is worshiped above all others and especially for enduring love and power:
Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
God everlasting through eternity.
Here God is praised above all things. God’s power brings in new life. God’s power is the source of entirely new possibilities. God creates essence and life, where there has been void and nothing; and at once God transcends and is entirely other to these things. In breathing Creator life into our world and then continually seeking to rescue or redeem it, God reveals to us divine life. God’s revealing continues and into the showing of Trinity; here God is present and existent in our lives and world as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And that is how God wants us to see the story of creation and life, that the God who becomes recognised as Trinity is revealing and affirming to us about “his” creative love and purpose.
The mystery of the Trinity, of God Three in one, is something to be lived out in real life. It is something that draws us beyond ourselves to other things which are deeper, higher and broader. And that broadness, height and depth of reality goes something like this:
- We and all that is, are created by God’s love.
- God’s passion as Creator is then focussed more closely on humanity and the world.
- God’s creative purposes don’t stop or flag because of human complexity and our constantly frayed nature.
Our frayed and failing nature is unavoidable and part of who we are, as Leonard Cohen keenly observed “there’s a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” And God uses this. Look at the anchoress Julian of Norwich.
For much of her life in medieval England, Julian of Norwich, lived in complete seclusion from the world in her cell attached to St Julian’s church. As a Christian contemplative she felt deeply close to God and thought much about the nature and purposes of God. At the age of thirty, Mother Julian contracted bubonic plague, the Black Death, which had been sweeping through England for years and she came very close to dying. It was in her illness that she had a series of visions or shewings about God and the Passion of Christ.
After a grateful recovery and in a continued life of self-isolation, Julian of Norwich wrote about these visions in her great work, Revelations of Divine Love, the earliest surviving book written by a woman in the English language. Her sense and vision of God, the God of love and Trinity is profound, and in close faith, she cut through complex ideas about the God who is Trinity.
She asks “Would you know your Lord’s meaning?”
“The high goodness of the Trinity is our Lord, and in him we are enclosed and he in us. We are enclosed in the Father, and we are enclosed in the Son, and we are enclosed in the Holy Spirit. And the Father is enclosed in us, the Son is enclosed in us, and the Holy Spirit is enclosed in us, almighty, all wisdom and goodness, one God, one Lord.” (Chapter 54).
“What, do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who reveals it to you? Love. What did he reveal you? Love. Why does he reveal it to you? For Love…. So I was taught that love is our Lord’s meaning” (Chapter 86).
Mother Julian in the end realised in the purest and simplest of ways that God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is Love. So often today we see our lives as modern and sophisticated and they are, but strip it all away and it is in simplicity and purity that God who is Creator and Love is found. Of course Julian of Norwich also recognised another profound truth, that the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit wraps up our lives, which are fragile and limited, into the life of the Trinity. We rest secure in God’s love and grace.
Today, that is why we sing, all over the world, with joyful hearts and voices about God who is mystery and yet is revealed as Trinity. Join in the song, as you and I and all creation give praise to Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty
all thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea;
holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!
Trinity deep blessings and love,