charged with lighting the earth on fire

photo (1) copy "In the beginning God created." --Genesis 1:1


Before we learn anything of God, we learn that He creates. In the first line of scripture we're made privy to this essential fact of His character.


I envision His breath like a tornado, swirling through the cosmos, peppered with bits of grass and dirt and emeralds and coral reef. And like a tornado, it animates the inanimate and moves what once was still.


In the beginning, the ocean rested, frozen like glass. Then God's breath whooshed, with hurricane force, through the water's mossy depths. Waves were born and the once sleeping sea awoke to a sensual body both violent and playful.


In the beginning, an elephant's crinkled skin stretched across the earth like a deflated gray balloon. Then God's breath whooshed, with hurricane force, through her trunk and into her body, forming a creature who used her newfound mass to dance with abandon, joyfully felling everything in her path.


In the beginning, Adam and Eve were two flesh colored pancakes melting in the grass, their hair, bones, and toenails made of earth dust and brown leaves. Then God's breath whooshed, with hurricane force, through their noses and into their bodies. They jumped up and  twirled, delighted by their muscles and the sound of their hearty laughter.


Since the beginning, the earth and her parts (e.g. you, me, the zebras, and the angry wasps) have relied on that divine breath for physical sustenance and creative power. If God's breath can make the world come to life--and if that very breath resides within our bodies--it only goes to reason that we, too, can animate the world with this heavenly endowment and claim creativity as our birthright.


Surely this is so.


For we breath out stories and songs and sweet bellied babies. We breath out inventions like electricity and the jet engined aeroplane. We breath out vulnerabilities and testimonies and confessions of love. We breath out revelations because such divine exhalations cannot be stemmed. We breath out because we understand on some primal level that we are like God, and like God, we are creators to our core.


If it is true that in the beginning God lent us His breath then we must use that breath now, forever lighting His cold and shadowy earth on fire.