Origin Stories: An Inuit Creation Story

This is the fifth in a five part series called “In the Beginning,” exploring various creation stories.

What does it mean to be people who have bodies, created in God’s image? Genesis tells us that we are made in the image and likeness of God. I thought it might be helpful to dig a little into what these words actually mean in their original language. The Hebrew word for image tselem has the sense of a cut out or something constructed. I imagine the craft where you cut out a paper people chain. The Hebrew word for shadow tsel comes from the same root. The word likeness can mean similar in manner or pattern. Perhaps we are the shadows of God – not exact but similar. We were created to act in a manner like God, though we often do not act as such.

Origins Stories: The Enuma Elish

This is the first in a five part series called “In the Beginning,” exploring various creation stories.

Why creation stories you may be wondering? Why look to the stories we have told of our origins for thousands of years? When Glebe’s Music Minister and I began to plan services for the summer, we knew we wanted to focus on a creation theme. It is no secret that there is a climate crisis. Part of the United Church of Canada’s new creed proclaims that we are to live with respect in creation. We live in a beautiful country, blessed with natural resources that we take for granted will always be there. One of the things I discovered and I think many of us did over the course of the pandemic was a new appreciation for the outdoors, of being able to meet outside with friends when we were not allowed to meet indoors. The importance of green space never became so relevant living in the city.

Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Trinity

Mysteries novels are appealing because you can enjoy not knowing, because you know in the end all will be revealed, you will know “who-dun-it” and justice will be served. Within the bound pages of a mystery novel things are simple, and resolutions always happen. Mysteries, whether in a fictional book or a tv series, are something to be solved, something we expect to be solved.

This is the Church

“This is the church,
It has steeple.
Look inside,
And see all the people.”

This little poem with hand actions may be familiar if you attended church as a child, maybe you learned it in Sunday school, or this might be your first time hearing it. It is a simple way to explain what a church is. Today is Pentecost Sunday, often called the birthday of the church. A good time to answer the question, what is a church?

The Measure We Give

Sometimes I wish that Jesus wasn’t so clear in his teaching. Most of the time he uses parables and rich symbolic language, which can be confusing and frustrating to our modern ears, but in this case what I wouldn’t give for a nice parable about sheep or vineyards. Why? Well, what do I, what do we do with love your enemies? There is a cartoon which depicts this story, Jesus teaching the crowd to love their enemies. Some in the crowd exclaim “surely he doesn’t mean the Romans!” I think it captures the dilemma we experience when we think about this commandment. How do we talk about love and forgiveness for those who do and express terrible things? How do we love the Romans?

Building with Love

Imagine you are outdoors, perhaps on a well traversed trail through the woods, or on a river moving through the streaming waters. Surrounded by the beauty and wonder that is creation you come upon an open field, sunlight streams upon the grass that bends from the gentle breeze. As you feel the caress of the wind upon your face you see a tall tent with its entrance open wide and tall enough for anyone to enter.

Above the entrance you see a sign that says “the tent that keeps no record of wrongs, all welcome.” It is a tent that is almost magical, for anyone who enters it every wrong they have ever done, every regretted word spoken in anger, every failure, does not exist in that tent. It is a tent that keeps no record of wrong. It is a tent of perfect love.

A Little Joy

Joy. Can you recall time you felt joy? Did you feel it in every part of your body, did it make you want to dance, to shout with glee. Today is known in the Western Christian Church as Gaudete Sunday or rejoice Sunday. It is the day we joyfully anticipate the coming of Jesus into the world. Today we focus on rejoicing. 

I wonder what exactly is joy? Is it a feeling? A state of being? Is it different than happiness?