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The creator God's work is not yet finished

AtomWhat does it mean to us when Jesus says, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation’? (Mark 16.15). Rev Philip Young explains.

It is Saint Francis of Assisi who is well known for preaching to the birds, animals and all his fellow creatures. In this passage we are encouraged by Jesus to spread the good news not just to human beings, but to the ‘whole creation’.
 
The good news is not a matter of mere words. What we believe with our heads certainly has some importance, but the transformation that Jesus brings about in his good news is that each of us is ‘a new creation’.
 
It is perhaps no coincidence that when I did a word search on my i-pad for ‘a new creation’ the above passage from Mark came up with the following underlinings:- ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation’ thus highlighting the words ‘a new creation
 
God is our creator and he hasn’t finished with the process of creation. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking too literally about the Genesis story and we imagine God creating the world in six days and then finishing and taking a well-earned rest on the seventh day. God has not stopped creating. It is in his very nature to create and the process still continues. He is in the process of creating sons and daughters made in his own image.
 
Creation is something that is happening to us and our part is to yield to that process of death and resurrection that is such a central part of the good news that comes to us through Jesus. Baptism is an outward sign of something that is inward. We put to death all that is evil in us and we are made new creatures by God’s work in us. The Holy Spirit brings us new life. We are new creatures.
 
To grow up into God’s kingdom is to accept that God is at work in us and we have to yield and submit to this process of rebirth. Physical birth is something that happens to us before we are fully aware of it. Spiritual birth is the same, but this time we can become more and more aware that God is at work in us, bringing us to fullness of life. God wants us to say ‘Yes’ to this process and he wants us to know that we are his sons and daughters.
 
God says to Jesus, ‘You are my beloved Son and with you am I well pleased’ (Mark 1.11’) and God wants to say to us, ‘You are my beloved children and with you I am well pleased’.
 
God is also at work in his creation and in all his creatures. At present the creation is not perfect, but is groaning in labour pains, waiting to become like his sons and daughters. Jesus is the first fruits of all that is to come. A new heaven and a new earth is in the process of being created. (Romans 8.18-27)
 
Will you yield yourself to this process of creation? God calls us in his love to become like him. God is love and he blesses the whole of his creation with his love.
 
With Julian of Norwich we can say, ‘All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well’. Mother Julian saw clearly the deep things of the mystery of God and wrote them down in her book Revelations of Divine Love.
 
The good news is that God is love and that in the process of creation he is pouring out his love into his creatures and into the whole created order and thus we can follow the words of Jesus when he says, ‘Go into the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation’.
 
Like Saint Francis we are encouraged to preach to the birds, the animals and to all our fellow creatures and to all of creation!
 


Rev Philip Young is the Norwich Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Church of England. He is also a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a Novice of the Third Order of Franciscans. His work for the Norwich Diocese is part time.  The rest of his time he reads and writes on spiritual matters. He is available to give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at philip.young@norwich.anglican.org.


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