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A Celebration of Creation - Rev. Sarah Walker Cleaveland

Posted on June 23, 2019 by Kathy Miller

A Celebration of Creation

Poem                                                    “Before Creation”                                    By Brian Morris           

Before creation, God sits still; draws breath;

asks herself, ‘What shall

I sing?’


No polite

clearing of the throat,

no ‘Excuse me …’


God speaks the storm and the sunset,

the starfish and the octopus,

 the sugar-cane and the sycamore,

the butterfly and the locust,

the mole and the tiger,

the woman and the man, and says:

‘This is what I mean. Isn’t it

glorious fun? Come,

come and play with me

in my creation.’


Genesis 1:1-5

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.


Genesis 1:6 & 8-13

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.


Poem                                    “How Does One Address a Mystery”         By Gordon McKeeman

How does one address a mystery?



Let us go cautiously, then,

to the end of our certainty,

to the boundary of all we know,

to the rim of uncertainty,

to the perimeter of the unknown which surrounds us.




Let us go with a sense of awe,

a feeling of approaching the powerful holy

whose lightning slashes the sky,

whose persistence splits concrete with green sprouts,

whose miracles are present in every place and moment.




Out of our need for wholeness in our own lives,

the reconciliation of mind and heart,

the conjunction of reason and passion,

the intersection of the timeless with time.




For no words will explain the inarticulate

or summon the presence that is always present

even in our absence....


Simply be in the intimate presence of mystery,





Genesis 1:14-19

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.


Story                                                             Creation
                                                            By Gerald McDermott

I was before time.

I was everywhere.

There was nothing.

I was there.

My spirit moved over the deep.

I floated in darkness.


Then I breathed light into the dark.

The light became day.


The darkness became night.


I divided the mists, sweet and salt,.

There was water above.

There was water below.


Between them was heaven.


I gathered together

the waters below

and made the sea.


Out of the sea

I brought the earth.


Out of the earth I brought

grasses and herbs,

seeds and roots,

flowers, trees,

and fruit.


I put shining lights in heaven.


The great light is the sun.

The small light is the moon.

The smallest lights are the stars.


Sun, moon, stars.

These signs mark the seasons.


Between heaven and earth

my spirit soared on the wings of birds.

My creatures began to fill the world.


They swam in the sea.


They crawled in the grass.


They moved over the earth.


Out of myself I brought

man and woman.

I gave my gifts to them.

They would be the keepers

of all this beauty.


Darkness, mist, water, light.

Seed, root, flower, tree,

and fruit.


Sun, moon, stars.


Creatures that swim.

Creatures that crawl.

Creatures that fly.

Creatures that move

over the earth

with woman and man

to care for them.


I am all this.

All this I AM.


Genesis 1:20-23

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.


Poem                                                  The Book of Endings
                                                                     Sam Taylor

Some time while you read this page

or the next one, a species —

a species as vast as your life

and the lives of all your ancestors

chasing bison across Old Europe

or huddled around a fire — will disappear.

A species that has found its own

ways of eating, of moving, of hiding

from predators; a species

that meets itself and makes love

in the bark of a tree or on the leaves

of the canopy or in the humid dirt.

And it has come with us for millions

of years, for millions of years,

it has watched the night

and day follow each other, it has breathed

with the frogs, it has wrapped

the stars around it like a blanket,

a patterned music, a map.

At the beginning of this page

there may have been three or four left,

but now there is only one.

And if you read this page again,

it will be another one, another species,

another story of four billion years

telling itself for the last time.

Wherever life began — a word, a wish

breathed into water, a seed falling

through space — it was all of us

there — as it is now

in this unknown last one.

It has bored into wood, it has carried

water on its back, it has drunk

the dew from its back in the desert,

it has fed its young with strips of

leaves, it has built homes out of bark,

it has caged the sky into a song,

it has spoken in ways no man has heard.

it has emerald wings

it has sapphire wings

it has wings of night

you will never see it

it is already gone.


Genesis 1:24-26, 31

2And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.


Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”


God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.


Story                                         from “The Making of the Staff”
                                                                    by Leila Berg

Then God said, “Now, not with my voice, but with my own hands, I will make a Human Being, a he and a she totally in one, just as I am totally in one.”

So God took dust from the four corners of the earth, a speck from here and a speck from there. For in this way the human being would be a of all colours, as the earth from different parts is of all colours, and would belong and be at peace everywhere. And she called for mist to rise from all the waters of the earth to moisten the dry dust and make it pliable. Then she took a little wind from the air, and a little warmth from all the fire, and squeezed the four together in the hollow of one hand, earth, water, air, and fire. And she made a human being, copper-red and black, sweet pale olive-green and white, so splendid and shining … And into it she breathed the breath of life.

The breath reached its eyes, and it opened them. The breath reached its ears, and it heard music. The breath reached its feet, and it stood up.


Genesis 2:1-3

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.


Reading                                        from Genesis Rabbah 11.8
                                                                A Jewish Midrash

The Sabbath came to God and said, “Everything in creation has a partner, but I have none. Who shall be my partner?” And God replied, “The people of Israel, those who remember you and keep you holy will be your partners.”

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