September 1 Lesson

September 1, 2013: Lesson 1
God Creates: Appreciating how God creates and sustain all creation

By Rev. Dr. John Brantley

[Key Verse: Ps 1104.24] O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Everlasting Foundation
This psalm is a hymn of praise for God. I encourage you to read it in its entirety to appreciate its grandeur and scope. In verses 5-9 we are reminded of the Genesis accounts of God’s handcrafted labor that beings with an eternal foundation.
Name someone you know who might have lost hope in God or they may have “given up on organized religion.” Imagine how it must feel for them to not have the assurance that God promises are built on ever-lasting bedrock. Those who have lost sight of God’s foundation in their own lives are closer to being restored if we will listen to their story. If you and I would reach out to those people and patiently listen to their faith story, they will tell us where they went of track if we listen. 
This requires that we not judge or correct; we must listen and learn. Teaching and re-introducing them to God’s love and grace will follow later. Know God is the foundation of our human story is vital to our faith. For those who have not heard or have lost sight, call for us to listen long enough to get to the root system of their faith journey.
Evidently God’s Been Busy
When my oldest daughter, Susanna, went with me to the Fernbank Science Center for the first time, we started with the display presentation devoted to creation and the “Big Bang.” The museum guide explained passion about the unique and awesome forces of gravity, matter and physics working together to begin an expanding act of creative life. To which my five year old responded with an equal passion and praise, “Didn’t God do a wonderful job?” The guide was speechless at her question. I agreed with her, “Yes dear, God certainly has done a great job!”
Our key verse celebrates God’s work and wisdom are evident in the work that was produced. Just as a talented painter can not only capture a sign in his or her medium of choice, but are also able to transport us to the scene and emotion that is their experience. God has built the universe, it’s order and rhythm reveal God’s wisdom for us find and share.
Feasting on Redemptive Breath
We enjoy eating in regular patterns of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Knowing that for some parts of the community and world there are those who struggle to find anything to eat. They are no less subject to hunger. In the order and wisdom God has given the responsibility and dominion for us to share the basic and common elements we all need. Animal, plants, bacteria and human beings need space, relationships, food and breath. These are basic things all of us need. Together we are interdependently connect and responsible for one another. The same water in which we play at the beach is the play ground of the whale and plankton.
The wisdom of God as creative architect is seen not only in the creatures, but in the relationship we share with one another. The squirrels, lizards, snakes, rabbits, black birds and dogs all share our yard. Each has a place the a cycle of that is our yard. So it is with all the creatures of God wise work throughout the world. There is tension and balance that works when we follow God’s wisdom rather than our own.
Finally is the common need for breath. This is the way that we experience the need for God along with the rest of creation. We all need breath. We all need God. Breath God’s Word, and listen for God’s voice.
Faithful Daily Actions:
·         Easy: When you take time to brush your teeth and freshen you breath, share a prayer of praise for God’s breath to renew your spirit.
·         Challenge:  Reach out to someone who is disenchanted with the church and ask him or her to tell you his or her faith journey because you are interested in learning about their experience. Listen to learn the points that have been tested and warn away. They will tell you where the hunger and thirst. Their spirit will reveal where they long for God’s breath. Share the stories of your journey and let them hear and see where you find God’s creation alive in your faith. Leave the rest to God to recreate their lives.
Suggested for Singing: Standing on the Promises
Prayer: We praise you God for the hope and wisdom we find in your creation. Help us to share that witness with those who feel lost and hopeless. Amen.
Author’s Note: It is with deep appreciation that I continue sharing reflections and insights on these lesson in the tradition of my parents. Vicky read at least two hundred books each year giving her a rich collection of stories to bring to our lessons. Mac brought forty years of ministry to his lessons. I treasure the time we had to blend our approaches to developing lessons, and miss the fellowship of sharing that work together. I hope that your find my offerings a helpful part of your preparation and study.
Rev. Dr. John Brantley is an elder serving the Jackson UMC in Jackson, Georgia and shares his weekly sermon notes at