Short Prayers 1: Creation

Short Prayers 1: Creation December 13, 2021

A Short Prayer for Each Day of Lent 2022

Cross and Crown. An inescapable tension. In the Good Friday cross of Jesus we see how hostile to God the human race has become. But on Easter Sunday God raises Jesus from the dead and crowns him King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Christ’s crown announces the forgiveness of our sin and the redemption of all things in creation.

Ash Wednesday marks the first of forty days of discipline and devotion, as we meditate on what happened and thank God for divine grace in our lives. This 2022 Lenten season I recommend you engage with one Short Prayer per day, six days per week, until Easter.

Pope Francis invites us to pray for world peace this Ash Wednesday.

For each of the 40 days minus Sundays in Lent, I invite you to click, read, meditate, and pray.

Short Prayers? What about God’s creation?

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

It was August 5, 1989. I was sitting on a granite stone on the northwest shore of Lillian Lake in the Ansell Adams Wilderness.  Looking through the lodge pole pines and mountain hemlocks, I could see the rippled blue surface of one of the Sierra’s more beautiful glacial lakes.  The sun was shining brightly on the rocky crags of Madera peak and Sing Peak, both of which peek above the tree line and top out at over 10,500 feet.

A Chipmunk came out to look around, then hastily scampered into a hole.  No sign of civilization assaulted my eye.  To the ear there was but silence with the occasional song of an insect and the rapping of a woodpecker.  Brightness. Peace.  Depth. Beauty.

The word ‘creation’ came to mind.  ‘Creation’ is a word that connotes two things:  the presence of God and the goodness of the natural world.  And that world looked oh so very good that day!

Yet, that woodpecker pecks only to find and eat the insects whose buzz provides the song.  One of those insects bit me while I was in my sleeping bag, inflicting pain.  The scampering chipmunk, which looks so cute, is in fact running for its very life.  The small creature is helpless prey to hawks and rattle snakes who are ever plotting the chipmunk’s demise.  The beauty of nature has a cancer that is constantly afflicting it with fear, cruelty, suffering, and death.

In addition to the beauty of nature, the world ‘creation’ may also apply to birth.  Loving babies as I do, each newborn I rock in my arms is a marvel. I think:  a brief datable time ago this baby did not exist.  Now it does.  A cute, cuddly, bundle of joy has entered existence.  Isn’t it beautiful!

Yet the beauty of each baby’s entry into creation cannot be hailed apart from the threat of tragedy.  What disease or accident might snuff out the child’s existence before maturity?  What if the surrounding culture is prejudiced against this innocent one’s race?  How might poverty destroy his or her chance for fulfillment in life?  Will our practice of poisoning our environment prevent this child from having posterity?  Or might a thermonuclear war settle all these matters ahead of time?

Babies are new creations.  With each new birth we are reminded that God is not done yet.  God continues to create.  The Easter resurrection of Jesus comes to us as a promise that God will create life out of death.  The beauty I experienced at Lake Lillian is a foretaste of the everlasting beauty God has promised.

One more thing.  The mother who brought me from non-existence into existence had a name.  It was Lillian.  I look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise for still another new creation.

SHORT PRAYER:

God of creation, who brought us and our world into existence, please continue to create; and give us the eyes to see the beauty of this creation as well as the one yet to come.

Amen.


Ted Peters is a Lutheran pastor and emeritus seminary professor. He is author of Short Prayers  and The Cosmic Self. His one volume systematic theology is now in its 3rd edition, God—The World’s Future (Fortress 2015). He has undertaken a thorough examination of the sin-and-grace dialectic in two works, Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society (Eerdmans 1994) and Sin Boldly! (Fortress 2015). Watch for his forthcoming, The Voice of Public Christian Theology (ATF 2022). See his website: TedsTimelyTake.com.

About Ted Peters
Ted Peters is a Lutheran pastor and emeritus seminary professor. He is author of Short Prayers  and The Cosmic Self. His one volume systematic theology is now in its 3rd edition, God—The World’s Future (Fortress 2015). He has undertaken a thorough examination of the sin-and-grace dialectic in two works, Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society (Eerdmans 1994) and Sin Boldly! (Fortress 2015). Watch for his forthcoming, The Voice of Public Christian Theology (ATF 2022). See his website: TedsTimelyTake.com. You can read more about the author here.

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