October 22, 2020

Listen Up, People! Our God Reigns! (Gen. 1)


Paradise, Chagall

A Reading/Performance of Genesis 1

Listen up, people! Our God reigns!

Let me tell you about our God.
Way back in the beginning, he made everything that is.
That’s right, I said he made everything that is!
It was God, the true and living God.
Not the pretender “gods” of Babylon or any other nation.
God alone is the One who brought order to the chaos.
He made the darkness light and stilled the raging seas.

At one time, this old world of ours was a wasteland,
No place we could call “home.”
It was dark as dark could be and covered with turbulent waters.

Now in Babylon, they’ll tell you stories,
Stories about how their gods were fightin’.
That’s why everything was so crazy chaotic.
Then, out of all that fussin’ and fumin’ and fightin’ one god won,
And that’s how we got our world.
Don’t you believe it!

When the world was dark and the waves were crashin’,
God’s Spirit was there like a mighty wind,
Just like when he parted the Red Sea.
You remember that story, don’t you?
There we were, in the wilderness,
No place we could call “home.”
Waters were threatening us, our enemies comin’ up on us.
That’s when God divided the waters for us, people,
And led us to the good land.

It happened the same way in the beginning, my sisters and brothers!


Now let me tell you all about it.

One day God stepped into that darkness and said, “Light!”
He made himself some room in time so he could work.
Called the light “day” and saved the dark for nighttime.
Now I want to hear you say, “That was good!”
Congregation: That was good!

Next day, God did something about all those ragin’ waters.
He said, “Get these outa my way!”
And made himself some space to work in.
He made a metal ceiling, my friends,
And put some of those waters up there
So there wouldn’t be so much on the earth.

Then on the third day God took the waters down here
And ordered ’em into a deep valley so they were all in one place.
And just like at the Red Sea, you could walk on dry land!
Just then God spoke again and things started growin’ —
All kinds of trees and plants
Sproutin’ all kinds of food for us to eat.
It was just like the Promised Land!
Now I know you’re gonna say, “That was good!”
Congregation: That was good!

Day four came along and God said,
“I want this world to be my temple, my palace,
Because this is where I’m going to reign.”
So he hung some lamps on that metal ceiling
To remind us down here that we’re in God’s Temple,
And to help us remember the times
When we should come and worship him.
That’s what the sun, moon, and stars are, my friends.
They are not “gods” like others tell you —
They point us to the true God.
And I know you will want to say, “That was good!”
Congregation: That was good!

On the sixth day, God filled his temple with life.
Just said the word, and life started appearing!
He filled the waters with fish and living creatures.
He even put old Leviathan there, the great sea monster.
Now the Babylonians will tell you
You awaken that monster, and you’ll have chaos on your hands.
But I want you to know, he’s just another fish in the sea.
God made birds too, to fly around under the ceiling.
Then he put all the animals on the land.
Filled his temple with life!
Gave them his blessing!
Now wasn’t that good?
Congregation: That was good!

God had one more thing to do on that sixth day.
My sisters and brothers, he wanted some priests
To represent him in his Temple.
So he made human beings, men and women.
That’s right, you and me!
Put them in his temple,
Gave them his blessing,
Provided everything they needed,
And said, “Be my rulers here on earth.
Be fruitful and multiply,
Take care of this Temple,
And let everyone everywhere know
That I am King.”

Now that’s more than good, isn’t it?
So let me hear you say, “That was very good!”
Congregation: That was very good!

There was only one thing left for God to do.
On the seventh day, he sat down on his throne.
“Oh, this is a good day!” he said.
My work of creating is done,
All is well in the world that is my Temple.
And I am on the throne.”

And that, my sisters and brothers,
Is the true story of creation.
God took the chaos —
Shaped it and filled it —
Put us here to take care of it —
And then sat down on his throne to rule.

So listen up, people!
No matter what they tell you,
Our God reigns!

Now, let me hear you say it!
Congregation: Our God reigns!


  1. Is this Chrysostom?

    • No, it’s an obscure church father, Mychal of Indyanapolae.

      • Cute response, Chaplain Mychal!

      • Perhaps inspired in part by James Weldon Johnson’s “The Creation” poem? That’s the first thing I though of when I read this…

        • Actually, it arose from Walter Brueggemann’s suggestion that “And God saw that it was good” may have been a congregational response in a liturgy.

      • lol

      • Marcus Johnson says

        I had a chance recently to visit the great city of Indyanapolae. The great coliseum under which the Coltae have played. The birthplace of Benjamin Harrison, a president who isn’t important enough for anyone to remember. The museums, the history, the Cheesecake Factory…

        Once you take it all in, you will then know where Mychal’s inspiration came from.

  2. This reading is good!

  3. Like.

  4. This is great

  5. Excellent!