Do Re Mi

This one's for those of you who have ever watched a musical and wondered what it would look like if people were to spontaneously burst into song and dance, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" style, in real life.  There are some theological musings below the video, but don't feel like it's necessary to read them.  Maybe you just need to watch and enjoy.  Am I the only one who finds it impossible to watch this video without grinning, even after viewing several times? In fact, I would be ashamed to admit it if it weren't for so many other people saying the same thing in the comment section on youtube, but I even get a little teary eyed. So this whole thing got me to thinking about Genesis, more specifically the creation account in Genesis 1-3.  We're told that, "in the beginning" the earth is "formless and empty".  The picture we're supposed to get is of absolute chaos.  The world is not a safe place for anyone. And then God speaks into the chaos and the result is order.  God separates things (water from land, darkness from light, etc.) in order to create a safe place for his creation to exist.  And he does all of this so that He can exist in relationship to his creation. As I've said before, the point of the creation story is that creation is good.  It is not an accident.  God takes meaninglessness and provides meaning.  He takes lifelessness and creates life.  Before creation we would be as safe in this world as we would be on the surface of Mars.  After creation, we have a home. The same thing happens in this train station in Belgium.  One way to look at it is to say that, in the beginning, the station is formless.  People going from here to there, lost in their own little lives, unaware of the others who are around them.  From above, the station seems chaotic. And then, seemingly from out of nowhere, there is a voice.  And suddenly two people respond to the voice.   And they're no longer moving on their own.  Which is to say that they are moving with each other and they are moving under the direction of something that is bigger than they are. And from there, more people are drawn into this act of creation.  The chaos disappears; the dance envelopes everyone.  People cannot remain isolated.  Some try to join the dance; others do a dance of their own.  But no one in the train station remains isolated.  Order comes from chaos. Finally, a connection can be made between chaos and the effects of sin.  We tend to think about sin in terms of guilt.  We stand condemned to die because we have run afoul of the judge.  Grace comes along and pronounces us innocent. That's true, but it's only part of the picture.  The other part is that sin creates chaos.  It wrecks our lives, it wrecks the lives of those around us.  It isolates us from one another.  But grace has the opposite effect.  It brings order.  It brings us from isolation into community.  Think about it.  When you experience God's grace do you not feel like things are suddenly clearer, less chaotic?  With God's grace life is a safer place to be.  Not only because it brings us forgiveness, also because it transforms us.  I think this isn't far from the meaning for the Hebrew word Shalom. Psalm 40 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Extreme Makeover

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:2
It's always interesting to me when it happens. And, since I've spent most of my life living in the suburbs, it has happened quite a number of times. Maybe an old building will sit on the corner of an intersection, unnoticed and uninhabited. Then one day it will just be gone. Or maybe a plot of land that was, just yesterday, part of a cow pasture is now a tilled-up square lot. As you drive by, you are startled by the jarring change to something that you have known for years. Then the construction vehicles show up: excavators and bulldozers, scrapers and dump trucks, cranes and cement trucks. Every day the lot is a flurry of activity. Hills are flattened or created. Holes are drilled. PVC piping shoots upward from the dirt like reeds in a pond. Little orange flags begin to mark out the dimensions of whatever is coming. And that's the question that's on everyone's mind. As we drive by we all say to ourselves or the person in the car with us, "I wonder what they're putting in right there." And our passenger will just shrug and make that universal "I don't know" grunt. Meanwhile, progress continues. What everyone's waiting for is a sign. We're waiting for one of those big signs with three, four, or maybe five words. The first two words are always the same: "COMING SOON..." Finally we get to know what all of the hubbub is about. It is revealed to us what business is taking shape right before our eyes. Hopefully, it's not just another Walgreens. Hopefully, it's something I'll like. But the exciting part is waiting to see what it's going to be. (Reading this, it strikes me that we're hurting for entertainment out there in the suburbs.) Today, I want to suggest that everyone has a sign. Not the kind of sign that that redneck comedian is always talking about, but a different one. A sign that says "coming soon..." Which is just another way of saying that we're all works in progress. We're all changing from what we are now to something else. The apostle Paul says we are all "new creations." And we can put the same question to ourselves as the one that ask about those corner lots under construction: "What do you think is going in there?" What is coming soon? That's the question for all of us today. What are we becoming? What kind of building are we being made into? God wants to turn you and me into a building that brings glory to him-one that saves our lives in the process. We'll get a better idea of that from scripture this morning.