Photo by Yash Raut on Unsplash

Dear Children of God,

I like to, when I can, make and build things.  There’s a certain satisfaction in being able to say, “I did that.”  And when it turns out well, I even take ownership in what I made, “Look at my shelf!  I made it and … it’s actually square and holds books without falling down!”  We all tend to have some pride and claim some ownership over what we do with our minds and hands.  And, in a sense, we might be right.  But …

The reality is that while we “made” it … we didn’t “create” it.  To me, “making” involves taking things we have and shaping them into something else.  But, everything we make begins with some kind of raw materials … wood, flour and eggs, paper, string … or ideas in our heads formed from knowledge we gained elsewhere.  On the other hand, when I think of “creating” something … that’s a task reserved for just one person … God our Father, the Creator of heaven and earth.  The Hebrew word, and its root, ברא (bah-rah), which means “to create”, is used 48 times in the Old Testament.  Each time, it has only one subject … God.  Whenever a created being, for example man, “creates” something, the word, used almost 2600 times, is עשׂה (seh) or, used almost 400 times, בנה (ben-ah) which mean “to manufacturer, do, build.”  We make things – using things God created.

In the Creeds’ First Article, we profess our belief in the Creator, “God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”  Martin Luther’ Small Catechism explains what this means saying, “God has made me and all creatures … my reason and senses … He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.”  God created the wood I built my shelves with … He created my reason and senses to visualize and understand how to build them.  In essence, I made them, but God created them.  And the shelves aren’t mine, but His … loaned to me to use as He sees fit.

Why does God do this?  Luther explains that too, “All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.” 

Sin entered God’s creation shortly after He created our original parents, Adam and Eve.  They decided they wanted God’s power for themselves.  Their sin upset the order the Creator had in mind when, in love, He created “all things visible and invisible” (Nicene Creed). 

However, out of love, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to remove the stain of sin from His creation.  Through Christ, we’re redeemed from sin’s effects.  God adopts us as His children in baptism.  He forgives our sins.  So, He is our Father in heaven.  As His children, one day we’ll inherit eternal life in His kingdom, the New Creation.

As we confess our belief in God the Father, we also confess our true, eternal identity – “Children of God.”  We are children of God … created by Him to be … fathers or mothers, sons or daughters, workers or students.  All we have, including our lives, is His … on loan to do His will in His creation.

                                                                   In Christ’s Love,

                                                                   Pastor Jim, Fellow Child of God