by Jenna Pulkowski
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it so.” (Genesis 1:1-2, 6-7)
I never used to like the creation stories of Genesis. The stories of Jacob and Esau, of the formation of Israel, Joseph and his brothers, and Moses and the desert captured my drama-fueled interests as a child.
There are many beautiful, encouraging lessons to be learned from the Genesis creation narratives. The one that has been on my mind lately is that God’s work of creation is arguably the work of making space.
As God’s Spirit floats over the chaos of the formless void, scripture presents an image of nothingness. No emptiness, no fullness, no anything. When God separates that nothingness into something-ness, into light and dark, solid land and liquid waters, we pay witness to the holy act of making space.
From the beginning, God makes space for their beloved creation, literally!
After years of infertility and a painful, frustrating medical journey, my husband and I are weeks away from welcoming our first child. The work of making space for our beloved new creation, a beloved whom God has known and knit together within me, has been exhausting, frustrating and wonderfully rewarding. I’ve had to decide what belongings to keep, what to donate to the thrift store, what I can live without, and what I’m just too stubborn to let go. It has been emotionally taxing, this work of making space.
Yet God’s work of making space for us, for all of creation, constantly reminds me that making space is holy work. In the beginning, God made space for creation. Then God made space for covenants. The ultimate act of making space came forth in the Incarnation, and the only Begotten Son of the Father came into the world through the vulnerable holiness of a young woman who said yes to making space for God’s very self.
When we, too, say yes to making space for God, we bear witness to God’s holy work of making space for us. For in the beginning, God said yes to creation, to us, and saw that we were good.
God of all creation, thank you for making space for us. As we go through each day, show us how to make space for you and others. Help us to be patient when we grow frustrated with our situations. Instead of shutting down and shutting you out, illuminate our space and fill it with your holy presence. Teach us how to do your holy work of making space in your world, to be an active part of building up your kingdom, and seeking your will on earth as in heaven. Wrap us in your loving embrace whenever we struggle with this holy work you have called us to. Amen.
1. What does making space look like for you?
2. How do you make space for God?
3. Where do you struggle to make space for God and God’s people? How might God’s working of making space for you help to transform those struggles?
Jenna lives in northern Illinois with her husband and two fur babies, and they’re working hard to make space for their new human baby, who is set to arrive by October 20. She is currently serving an ELCA congregation in Mundelein, Il. as a solo pastor. Her greatest weakness is the trick of “just one more chapter,” which has cost her many a good night’s sleep. The stories are usually worth it, though.