Chaplain's thought for the week
Revd Tom reflects on the creation poem in the book of Genesis
This term in Senior School Chapel we will be looking at various stories from the first few chapters in the book of Genesis. This is the first book in the Bible, in what for Christians is known as the Old Testament and for Jews is the Hebrew Bible. This week we began with the story of the creation of the universe, which is essentially a poem in which creation takes place over the series of the days of the week. It is a beautiful piece of poetry which celebrates God as creator, and a lovely place to start at the beginning of a new term. I shared three reflections with pupils about this poem.
We first considered the fact that there is a creation: there is something rather than nothing. This isn’t something we consider every day; we take the universe for granted. But when we stop to think about it, it is quite remarkable: the universe exists; the sun, moon and stars exist; the earth exists; the land and the sea and the creatures on and in them all exist; we exist. Yet, we might not have been. I think from time to time we should pause in wonder at the fact that anything exists at all.
Second, once we have paused in wonder at the fact of creation, we might be reminded to admire the beauty of the world around us. It is easy to take a negative view about the state the world is in. We often focus on all of the things that are wrong with the world… but we must not forget that the world is an incredibly beautiful place. In the creation poem there is a refrain which is repeated five times: ‘God saw that it was good.’ The world is saturated with beauty. If we take time to pause and enjoy that beauty it will give you a different perspective on our problems: our worries and concerns will seem somehow smaller.
My third reflection is that human beings are a wonderfully special part of creation. In the poem, God says this on the sixth day: “…now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us.” The idea is that each of us bears the divine stamp: each one of us is an infinitely precious human being. We – and young people in particular – do well to remember this when we’re tempted to feel down on ourselves, when we are weighed down with negative voices, when we don’t think we’re good enough, or we feel a bit worthless. Each of us is special.