Genesis 1:1 - 2:4a

Illustrated New Resources

  • Let There Be Light

    Story Sermon by Carolyn Dickinson
    She lay awake, struggling to communicate with God, knowing that God knew what she wanted to say, but trying to put her feelings …? Was it depression? Or was she just tired, after working all day and then coming home to feed the cattle, care for her sick husband, fix supper, do the dishes, wash clothes, and …? The news. Maybe she shouldn’t listen to the news before she went to bed. It was never good. The COVID. More and more people were dying every day. Every twenty minutes, they said. She wondered what city was being wiped off the map. The politics. She had never claimed any particular party. She was frustrated with both of them. Whatever one party wanted, the other refused, even though under another president, that was what they claimed to want. It was like the Hatfields and the McCoys. What would be left of their democracy when this was over? Why couldn’t they work together, like they used to when she was younger?...
  • Chiaroscuro

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    A strong contrast of light and dark in the visual art is called chiarascuro (/kyärəˈsk(y)o͝orō/), which literally means light-dark (chiaro meaning “clear” or “bright" and oscuro meaning “obscure”' or “dark”). Seventeenth-century Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (usually just referred to as "Caravaggio"), was the painter who first made this strong contrast of light and dark into a trademark of his style. Artists who came immediately after him and followed his style were referred to as Caravaggists...
  • Sermon Starters (Baptism of the Lord)(B)(2021)

    by Stan Mast
    If you are able to use your sound system during a sermon, I would recommend using a recording of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zerathustra” when you come to “let there be light.” Pull that up on Google and you’ll find a stunning video from “2001:A Space Odyssey” (I think). The combination of trumpets, tympani and full orchestra will send chills up your spine. That might help your people feel the awesomeness of God’s creation power. The title of the piece is problematic, of course. You might have to hide that. One way to help people understand the concepts of tohu webohu would be to recall the chaos of the first Presidential Debate in the United States back in late September. It was without form and empty and darkness was over the face of the deep, no matter what party you are part of. With speakers interrupting, making ridiculous claims, attacking each other, clashing like a couple of furious sixth graders on the playground, it was a picture of waves crashing into each other in a storm-tossed sea.

Other New Resources

Illustrated Resources from 2018 to 2020

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Epiphany 1B (2018)

    by Doug Bratt
    Where there is darkness, there is fear. Where this is light, however, there is life. There is also safety and confidence. In his January 10, 2017 New York Times article, “The Lights Are On in Detroit,” Michael Kimmelman describes how in December, 2016 Detroit officials turned on the last if its 65,000 new streetlights. Those lights are spread all across the city. Before that, businesses like Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles had to shut down by dinnertime because people didn’t want to go out to eat after the sun went down. They were afraid of what people might do to them in the dark. Foot traffic, says its owner Mr. Spencer, “almost fell to zero after dark. Since the lights came on, it’s up 15 percent across this neighborhood.” Mr. Kimmelman also notes that he Louisiana Creole Gumbo Restaurant catered to neighborhood workers before drug dealers moved in and the lights went out. Now the lights are on, says the restaurant’s owner, Mr. Spencer, “and diners are returning at night.”
  • A Part of It All

    by Heather Kirk-Davidoff
    This trajectory of human history is profoundly and succinctly summarized in one of the great theological works of our time--the 2008 Pixar movie WALL-E. Do any of you remember that movie? It is set at some point in a post-apocalyptic future when the earth has become so contaminated and so full of trash that is no longer habitable by people. So the people have all evacuated to a gigantic spaceship where they sit in motorized lounge chairs and drink slurpees all day while back on earth a solitary robot is tasked with cleaning things up. The movie makes it clear that human life, abstracted from the created world, is silly and meaningless. The story ends on a hopeful note, though, because the robot spots a plant starting to grow in the earth's soil and the spaceship lands and the people return and begin to plant and grow things again...
  • Sermon Starters (Trinity Sunday)(A)(2020)

    by Stan Mast
    Years ago, I read The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene’s blockbuster book about string theory. I found it both fascinating and faith challenging. So did Jeffery Kluger who interviewed Greene in the March 2-9, 2020 issue of Time. He writes, “If you’re feeling all dreamy about the universe, here’s a pro tip: don’t tell Brian Greene. That guy can chill your cosmic buzz fast. I recently swung by the office [of Greene] full of happy, giddy questions and came away pretty much empty. Is there such a thing as a natural moral order? I wondered. Not in this universe there isn’t. What about a purpose to the universe, then—the reason the whole 13.8 billion-year-old shebang with its hundreds of billions of galaxies and trillions of planets happened in the first place? Nope, Greene says, no such purpose, adding, ‘And that’s Ok.’ Surely, though, Greene will grant the existence of free will…. Sorry, not a chance. ‘Your particles are just obeying their quantum-mechanical marching orders….’” Doesn’t such a cold, cruel, mechanical universe depress students? “I’ll be frank. I have some students who come in crying. And they say, ‘This is kind of shaking my world up,’ and I say right back at them, ‘That’s not a bad thing. It’s fine to have your world shook. The pieces may fall back in the end to where they were, and they may not.’” In the end, says Greene, “My feeling is that the reductionistic, materialist, physicalist approach to the world is the right one. There isn’t anything else; these grand mysteries will evaporate over time.” Note, “my feeling.” Read, “my faith.’
  • Notes from the Overture

    by Jim McCrea
    Bret Turner teaches in Oakland, California. His “Puzzle of the Week” last week asked this: “I am the beginning of everything, the end of everywhere. I’m the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space. What am I?” Those of you who are familiar with childhood riddles may know that the answer he was looking for was “the letter e”. Don’t worry if you didn’t get that. You probably would have if you had read it instead of just hearing it. In any case, Turner posted his riddle on Twitter, followed by this statement, “The first guess from one of my first graders was ‘death’ and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the class that I didn’t want to tell them that actually the answer is the letter "e", which just seemed so banal in the moment.”...

Illustrated Resources from 2012 to 2017

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • In the Beginning and In the End: Christians and Climate Change

    by Eric Barreto
    (Includes video of threatened animals from the book of Genesis.)
  • Trinity (A)(2017)

    by Doug Bratt
    Sometimes it’s easier to notice a creature than its creator. One of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web’s special creatures is a pig named Wilbur. He’s enjoying his new home until one day he learns that eventually farmer Homer Zuckerman will probably kill him and turn him into bacon and ham. So Charlotte the spider hatches a three-step plan to save Wilbur...Everybody who visited the pigpen had a good word to say about Wilbur. Everyone admired the web. And of course nobody noticed Charlotte … Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all.”
  • The Great Wind of God

    by Dan Clendenin
    ("Hildegard of Bingen was one of the most Spirit-inspired mothers of the church. After keeping her visions to herself for decades, when she was forty-two Hildegard says that God told her to write what she had seen and heard: 'So now you must give others an intelligible account of what you see with your inner eye and what you hear with your inner ear. Your testimony will help them. As a result, others will learn how to know their Creator. They'll no longer refuse to adore God.'...")
  • God's Courage and Ours

    by Kathy Donley
    God takes a great risk in sharing power with us. Rabbi Arthur Waskow writes, In the beginning God was lonely, suffering though everything in the universe was held within. Unfulfilled, overpowered by chesed-energy God breathed out, kissed out, sent it all out, every possibility that ever was and would be. I imagine God was frightened. What a terribly momentous step, even with overflowing love as catalyst and reference point. What if something went wrong if the universe made its own choices at breakneck speed if there was no breathing any of it back in again. Once it began, this process more powerful than its Creator, with beginning middle end all at once, all possible -- how could there not have been Divine panic?”...
  • The Fruit of All Creation

    by Jim Eaton
    “I am groot”. It’s a line from the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. A cast of strange creatures from different places includes a being who looks like a tree, has branches for arms and says this one phrase over and over, in answer to any question, as a comment on any situation: “I am groot”. After many adventures, Groot saves them, at the cost of his own life. But Groot sends out a seed that grows into a little Groot who then goes on to the sequel.
  • To Rest: Created in the Image of God

    by Janet Hunt
    ["yesterday this is what I found on the sidewalk just in front of my house. Evidently, the two little girls who live next door have been at play in these first warm days of June. Look closely though. I played hopscotch when I was a girl. Only I know that none of my games included a place to 'rest.' (I did poke around Google Images and found that this is not as unusual as I first thought..."]
  • Called Into Relationship

    by Beth Johnston
    There was once a child who asked his mom, “Mom, where did I come from?” His mom took a deep breath and decided that this was the time to tell him about the “birds and the bees”. After she finished telling him what she thought was “enough information,” the child replied, “Awh, Mom, I already knew THAT stuff; I only asked because my new friend Sam says he comes from Vancouver. Where do I come from?” With children you sometimes need to know what their point of reference is!
  • Vive la Difference

    by Liza Knapp
    This week marked the anniversary of Loving vs. Virginia, the landmark 1967 Supreme Court case that struck down our own country’s anti-miscegenation laws. Richard and Mildred Loving were a married couple that had been sentenced to jail under Virginia law, because he was white and she was black. The judge who sentenced them to jail had argued that their marriage was contrary to God’s will as expressed in creation. He wrote in his decision that “Almighty God created the races and placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for them to mix.”
  • Where Do You Come From?

    by David Russell
    Frederick Buechner writes, Using the same old materials of earth, air, fire, and water, every twenty-four hours God creates something new out of them. If you think you’re seeing the same show all over again seven times a week, you’re crazy. Every morning you wake up to something that in all eternity never was before and never will be again. And the you that wakes up was never the same before and will never be the same again, either. We come from a God who is constantly creative and is still making things new.
  • A World Full of Wonder

    by Alex Thomas
    ["a woman went on a trip with her husband to Connecticut and Rhode Island about eight weeks after a mastectomy. While there she suggested that they spend sometime by the ocean at Newport because there was something therapeutic about the ocean. She found that seeing the waves, walking in the sand, watching the tide, just experiencing the presence of the ocean that she felt more connected to nature, herself and the healing process..." and other quotes]
  • The Best of All Beginnings

    by Debie Thomas
    ("Frederick Buechner writes, 'Using the same old materials of earth, air, fire and water, every twenty-four hours God creates something new out of them. If you think you're seeing the same show all over again seven times a week, you're crazy. Every morning you wake up to something that in all eternity never was before and never will be again. And the you that wakes up was never the same before and will never be the same again, either...")
  • If Every Day Was Saturday

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Several years ago I was watching a video on the Hospice experience. A couple was being interviewed. The wife was terminally ill and her husband was determined to take care of her. They had always taken care of each other and rarely did they ask for outside help. But the woman's terminal illness was overwhelming. Finally, the couple surrendered to the idea of Hospice care...")
  • The Image of God and the Secret of Life

    by David Wood
    The philosopher Calvin Trillin, in his book About Alice relates a story about his wife, whose name was Alice. She was volunteering at a camp for terminally ill children. In the course of the camp, Alice encountered a young girl who was severely disabled. Trillin recounts Alice's description of the young girl from their correspondence--she referred to her simply as L: Alice writes, 'She had two genetic diseases, one which kept her from growing and one which kept her from digesting any food...

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • How the World Began

    by Mickey Anders
  • Professional and Gender Views of Creation

    Humorous Illustrations from Biblical Studies
  • In the Beginning

    by Sarah Buteaux
  • Infanticide

    from Christianity Today
  • The Poetry of Creation

    by Dan Clendenin
    ("I like to interpret the ancient poetry of Genesis with the help of the modern poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889). In his poem called God's Grandeur (1877), Hopkins considers the grace inherent in God's creation:...")
  • Leave and Cleave

    by Larry Cunningham
  • Something From Nothing

    by Richard Niell Donovan
    Catherine Marshall told about her friend, Marge, who boarded a plane bound for Cleveland. As they sat on the runway, waiting for takeoff at dusk, she noticed a strange phenomenon. Looking across the aisle, she could see through the distant windows a beautiful sunset that lit up the sky in wonderful orange and red colors—on that side of the plane. But, looking through the window beside her, she could see only darkness. As she reflected on that, she heard a voice from within. The voice said: "You have noticed the windows. Your life, too, will contain happy, beautiful times, but will also contain dark shadows. Here is a lesson I want to teach you to save you much heartache and to allow you to "abide in Me" with continual peace and joy. You see, it doesn't matter which window you look through; this plane is still going to Cleveland. So it is with your life. You have a choice. You can dwell on the gloomy picture. Or you can focus on the bright things and leave the dark, ominous situations to Me. I alone can handle them anyway. And the final destination is not influenced by what you see or feel along the way."...
  • In the Beginning

    Narrative Sermon by Frank Fisher, Obl. OSB
  • Baptism of the Lord (B)(2012)

    by Scott Hoezee
    It reminds me of one of the motifs in last year’s outstanding film The Tree of Life from director Terrence Malick. In the film we see again and again—at key turning points in the film—some kind of orange-ish/yellow-ish wisp of light hanging in space and surrounded by darkness. Not a few people have concluded this is Mallick’s depiction of God and, more specifically, of Christ as the light that shines in the darkness but without the darkness having overcome it (cf. John 1, a text that also brings us back to “In the beginning”).
  • Trinity Sunday (A)(2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Some while back I read Stephen Ambrose's book Undaunted Courage that details the voyage westward of explorers Lewis and Clark. Again and again as they pushed west in the early 1800's, these two explorers and their comrades were stunned to see prairies literally black with herds of buffalo, the thunder of whose hoofbeats reverberated for miles...")
  • January's Comfort

    by John Holbert
  • Our Creation Story

    by Sharon Jacobsen
    ("Here is how the world was created. Somewhere in the formless universe lived Apsu, the sweet fresh-water, and Tiamat the salt sea waters, mingling together. They begat the god-children, and then there came grandchildren and great-grandchildren...")
  • The Creation

    Poem by James Weldon Johnson
  • Into the Chaos

    by Beth Johnston
    "in 2008, to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of the 1908 publication of Anne of Green Gables, Nova Scotian writer, Budge Wilson wrote a prequel to Anne of Green Gables which explained how the orphaned daughter of Walter and Bertha Shirley came to be sent to Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. It explained what her life was like as she was bounced from family to orphanage and how it was that she came to love classic romantic poetry..."
  • Trinity Mystery

    by Jeffrey London
    Father Lawrence Jenko is an American Roman Catholic priest who was held hostage in Beirut, Lebanon, for 564 days in the 1980's. He was secluded in various apartments and was most often chained blindfolded to a radiator. (In the Arab world, if you see your captors you must die.) When he was moved he was gagged with a dirty rag in his mouth, wrapped like a mummy, placed under the chassis of a truck, and driven around for an hour or two to a new location. Because of the constant blindfold, he never knew, when he was being touched, whether it was a touch of violence or a touch of compassion. In the beginning he was imprisoned alone, but later he was held with William Buckley, Ben Weir (a Presbyterian Minister), John Jacobson (a CNN reporter), and Terry Anderson. Both the heat and the cold were unbearable. There was torture and abuse. He was allowed to leave his cell once a day, to go to the bathroom, when his captors felt like it. Father Jenko said that he survived by repeating over and over several phrases. One is an old Jewish proverb: "When violence happens, first you cry, then you sing, and then you remain silent." He also said to himself during periods of torture, "I am a person of dignity. I am loved, I am worthy, and I do have a destiny." He also celebrated the Eucharist every day, even when all he had to offer was a small pile of dust from the floor. His guards were often cruel. Sometimes, however, they would ask if he needed anything. His little joke with them was, "only a little money for a taxicab to Damascus." One day, the cruelest of the guards slipped something into his pocket. Then once again he was bound, gagged, and blindfolded, driven two hours under a truck to the outskirts of Damascus, where he was dumped by the side of the road. When he finally freed himself, removed the blindfold and a gag, he found in his pocket enough money to take a taxicab to the center of the city...
  • And God Said: The Power of the Word in Myth and Metaphor

    by Ann-Mary MacLeod
    ("The way that myth is taught at Pacifica is that it is all the stories, of all human beings, of all time in their urge and desire to understand their relationship with the world. Myth is how we make sense of being. I love one particular interview of Joseph Campbell done by a young fellow...")
  • Breathing Water

    by David Martyn
    Now the fear of abandonment by God is the very condition that Jesus finds as he comes to the Jordan to be baptized by John. It is as though the people of God had sunk into a chaotic, formless void, lost, confused, blinded, without a mother to lead them, without a father to hold them. In the Jordan, God begins a new creation and the story begins again...
  • The Trinity Explained

    by David Martyn
  • Order Out of Chaos

    by James McCrea
  • You Are God's Beloved Child

    by James McCrea
    ("Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest who spent his last years living among people with mental handicaps, centered his faith on the understanding that all of us are the beloved sons and daughters of God. He believed that one of the largest spiritual tasks we have is to claim that love as our own and live our lives based on that great truth...")
  • Touch Me

    from Mountainwings
    ("The man whispered, 'God, speak to me' and a meadowlark sang. But the man did not hear. So the man yelled 'God, speak to me' and the thunder rolled across the sky. But the man did not listen...")
  • Speech and Silence

    by Peniel Jesudason Rufus Rajkumar
  • Allurement

    by Barry Robinson
    ("In his inspirational view of matter and the universe The Universe Is A Green Dragon, physicist and author, Brian Swimme, imagines the story of creation being explained in the form of a classical dialogue between a famous cosmologist named Thomas and a young student...")
  • Over the Bent World Broods

    by Barry Robinson
    ("In Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple, there is a wonderful scene where Celie, a battered and depressed woman, married to a brutal and sadistic husband, meets Shug Avery, a sultry, free-wheeling songstress...")
  • When I Was a Boy

    by Nanette Sawyer
    ("Recently we read aloud portions of a song by Dar Williams called . Williams reflects on growing up with the social freedoms granted to boys, and how that freedom slipped away as she was pressed into female gender roles...")
  • In the Beginning

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
  • Encounter with the God of Love

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Wendell Johnson's poem Creation comes to mind. Listen to some of and catch the glory of it. 'And God stepped out on space, And God looked around and said: I'm lonely-- I'll make me a world. And far as the eye of God could see Darkness covered everything, Blacker than a hundred midnights Down in a cypress swamp...")
  • The Gift of Trees

    Narrative Sermon by Pamela J. Tinnin
  • Christ Is God's Light

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
  • In the Beginning

    by William Westmoreland
    (includes some good quotes)
  • Images of Adam and Eve/Garden of Eden

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Images of Creation

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Other Resources from 2018 and 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2017

Other Resources from 2014

Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

Other Resources from 1999 to 2007

Other Resources from the Archives

Children's Resources and Dramas