Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Song of Creation

The universe sings the song "Holy, Holy, Holy!" In Revelation 4, the four "living creatures," representing all sentient beings on earth, are singing a song to the Unseen God. Can you hear it? "This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres." The universe sings! "This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, declare their maker's praise."

Perhaps we could even venture to say that the song of creation is antiphonal, like many of the Old Testament psalms. There are two parts - sung by Creator and creation! Genesis tells us that the Lord spoke the universe into existence. Do you think he spoke in a boring monotone?  Did the One who created the songbirds simply drone them into being? Surely he sang them! Job 38:7 says that at the dawn of creation "the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy." Is it too much to think they learned to sing from the Composer?

Emerson said that music is the language of heaven. Surely God speaks heaven's language! "This is my Father's world:  he shines in all that's fair; in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere." And the creation responds, "Holy, holy, holy!  Lord God Almighty! All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea."

The word "holy" has two meanings. First it means "set apart." This is the transcendence of God. As the great hymn based on this text says, "Holy, holy, holy!  Though the darkness hide thee, though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see, only thou art holy; there is none beside thee, perfect in power, in love and purity." As Otto said, God is "Wholly Other"

The other meaning of "holy" is whole, as in holistic. Holy means one. The Shema says, "The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Deuteronomy 6:4) This is the immanence of God. Revelation 4 describes the primordial, eternal and eschatological harmony of God and his creation. In spite of the dissonance of sin, suffering and evil in the world, there is a harmony that encompasses it all. It is all working out according to God's plan. It is a divine symphony. "This is my Father's world; The battle is not done. Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heaven be one."

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