Bible passage: Genesis 1:1 -2:4
Background: The very start of the Bible tells the story of God creating the world. The majestic beauty of the poetry in these verses shows God’s love and care for the universe, and places humans at the pinnacle of creation.This session won’t focus on the mechanics, but rather on the grandeur and beauty of creation, and on God’s power in creating it.
OPTION 1: Chatting together
As people arrive (or at the start of the service), encourage them to chat with people they don’t know about their favourite parts of the natural world. Have they been to a place where the scenery took their breath away?
OPTION 2: Psalm praise
You will need: Bibles
Before the service, divide Psalm 148 into chunks and ask some volunteers to be ready to read a chunk out at the start of your service.
When everyone is seated, your volunteers should stand where they are and read out their section of Psalm 148 in turn. You might wish to create some kind of response after each section. A simple phrase such as: “Praise the Lord” or a loud cheer might be suitable. For a longer activity, use other creation psalms, such as 8 or 139.
You will need: paper and art materials; various props; Bibles; PowerPoint presentation from links.
Split the congregation into seven groups, making sure each has a mix of ages. Ask each group to think about one of the fi rst six days of creation (split day six into two, with one group looking at land animals and one at humans). Encourage them to read about their allocated day in their Bible and create something visual to represent that day. They could make a piece of art together, come up with a role play or create a tableau using whatever props you have provided. It might be an idea to place a couple of people in each group who can lead in case ideas aren’t forthcoming.
Once the groups are ready, read Genesis 1:1 -2:4 (or prime a volunteer to do so), stopping at each day to allow the relevant group to come up and display their visual representation. You could also show the PowerPoint presentation during the Bible reading if you have the facilities to do so.
On day seven, encourage everyone to mime ‘resting’. Invite some volunteers up to the front to tell the rest of the congregation what they do to rest and relax (for example play sport, do puzzles, play video games or read). Ask them how these things help them unwind and wonder together about how God rested.
You will need: copies of the pictures from the ‘Bible story’ PowerPoint; Bibles
Break into small groups made up of one or two families, or of different mixed-age groups. Give each group a copy of these questions and a set of creation pictures from the PowerPoint:
- Which day of creation do you like the best? (Use the pictures to help you decide.
- What does this story of creation tell us about God?
- What does this story of creation tell us about people and what God thinks of them?
- What difference does knowing that you were made by God make to you? Give the groups time to chat about these questions, referring to the Bible passage i f they need to.
You will need: a roving mic (if needed)
Get some feedback on questions two and three from ‘Small groups’, using a microphone to hear people’s contributions if your meeting space is large. You could even have a vote to fi nd out which is the most popular day of creation!
Acknowledge that Genesis doesn’t set out to describe the mechanics of how God made the world, but tells us of God’s power, love and creativity, helping us understand the why of creation.
Set up the three activities below in different parts of your meeting space. Explain each one and encourage people to go to the one that will help them process what they have discovered most effectively.
OPTION 1: Painting
You will need: paint; paintbrushes; large sheets of paper; cover-up and clean-up equipment
Set out lots of paint and sheets of paper, and encourage people to create a piece of artwork that refl ects something of what they have discovered about creation today. What is God saying to them through the story? What difference is what they have discovered going to make in their lives?
OPTION 2: Discussion
You will need: volunteers to facilitate discussion; paper and pens
Gather people together in small groups, each one with a facilitator, and challenge them to think about the difference the things they have discovered today will make in their lives. Would it be to care for God’s creation more intentionally? To love people in the way God loves them? To create a day of rest in their lives?
OPTION 3: Reflection
You will need: images of creation (you can find these on a royalty-free photo site such as pexels.com); access to the outdoors (optional)
Create a space where people can spend time reflecting on God’s creativity. Provide lots of pictures of God’s creation for them to meditate on. If you have the means to do so, encourage people to go outside and walk around, looking around at the sky, the trees, the flowers and any creatures they can see.
Bring everyone back together and ask if anyone would like to share what they did, thought about or discussed during the response time. Thank everyone for taking part and say an appropriate blessing to close the service.
CREATIVE WORSHIP SUGGESTIONS
During your sung worship, provide long sheets of paper and art materials for people to express their worship creativity through painting and drawing.