Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The 7th Day
In English class today we had a bit of a creative exercise. We are currently reading The Magician’s Nephew—chronologically the first book in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. We have just finished the part where Aslan has sung Narnia into existence. I wanted my students to compare the similarities and the dissimilarities between Narnia’s creation and the biblical creation as portrayed in Genesis 1.
The first part of the exercise was rather simplistic but remarkably telling. I had them take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle writing characteristics of the Genesis account on the one side and characteristics of the Narnian account on the other. They came up with everything from both had suns and stars, to God spoke the world into being and Aslan sang the world into being. It was an extremely enlightening exercise in the sense that it got the kids to ask why some things were exactly alike in both accounts and why others were either slightly or completely different. But the most enlightening thing for me occurred as I was going over the comparisons of one student in particular followed by the inquiry and short discussion of the students surrounding.
I had noticed on the student’s paper that she had written “creation in 6 days” on the biblical account side, and I corrected her by saying that it was 7 days. The student’s response was one we have all heard a lot: “But God created in 6 days and rested on the 7th.” I was feeling slightly argumentative at the time and wanted to test her a bit further, so what came out of my mouth next was more like role-playing devil’s advocate then a profound split-second thought: “Yes, God did rest on the 7th day which means He created rest on the 7th day.”
As soon as the words were out of my mouth I realized that I had never really thought about it that way before.
One of the surrounding students replied by saying, “Well, that doesn’t really count!” To which I replied, “I don’t know about you, but some times it takes a lot of effort and deliberateness for me to rest.”
Of course, as young teenagers my students haven’t gotten to the place where they are “too busy” to rest. Recreation, rest, and boredom are the norm for them—it’s the industry, diligence, and effort that’s the deliberate drudgery and work for them!
All too often I get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent, convinced that something just shy of burnout for the Kingdom is the best way to minister and serve. Though in recent years I have come to see the value in “a change often being as good as a rest”, or the benefit of recharging or takeing time for my self so that I may more efficiently serve others, I have never realized how difficult it can be to deliberately rest. Nor have I thought about the idea of God creating rest on the 7th day. His was a purposeful, deliberate, intentional act of resting. Knowing that it would be hard for us he gave us an example in the very pattern of creation. It is much easier to acknowledge that we are sub creators under the Creator in areas of skill, industry, and creativity, but to understand that we are also to be sub-creators in the stewardship of our time and the structuring of our rest seems to be an idealistic, ivory tower sort of notion, either that or an altogether missed notion.
There were 7 days of creation. But we not only have to be deliberate in remembering the 7th day, we have to be deliberate in imitating it as well.