Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Let There Be Bacon"

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1)

Jon Ashton, Matt Heyman, and Dylan Doss are taking the story of creation all over America. And they’re doing it with a food truck.

In all likelihood their proclamation of how the world began is unintentional, the inadvertent echo of the Bible’s story captured in the name emblazoned on the side of their truck: “Let there be Bacon.” If you’re a fan of the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, then you know all about “Let there be Bacon.”

The premise of the show is simple. Seven food truck teams begin a series of challenges that take them on the road from city to city. The winner is usually determined by highest earnings in each city. In the end, the last team left standing gets $50,000 and a new food truck. So far, “Bacon” is doing quite well.

Ashton, Heyman, and Doss probably want nothing more than to win the cash and the truck. But whether they mean to or not, they are telling a story with “Let there be Bacon.” The artwork on the side of the truck is a nod to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting, the finger of God reaching out in creative power to touch strips of bacon.

Maybe these guys just love bacon. Maybe they’re just interested in making good food that happens to be made better by adding bacon. But with their food truck they are doing more than that. They are announcing the opening lines of the greatest story ever told.

They are doing this, first of all, by reminding all of us that there is a God who brought all things into being. This is where the story begins. “In the beginning, God . . .” If you ever find yourself in a discussion with someone about the existence of God, the Bible will not be very helpful to you in making an argument. The Bible never argues for the existence of God. God simply is.

Second, they are reminding us that this God is a speaking God. “Let there be” are the creating words of a personal God. The opening chapter of the book of Genesis is characterized by the repetition of the phrase “And God said.” That phrase is often followed by “let there be.”

New Testament scholar D. A. Carson says it this way: “The God of the Bible is not some abstract ‘unmoved mover.’ He has personality and dares to disclose himself in words that humans can understand.” Those words have power to give life and bring things into existence.

The story we want to tell in the weeks ahead begins here. God exists. And everything else that exists came into being by the power of God’s word.

We could easily make the mistake of rushing past this. Some dismiss it because they’re convinced that science makes it impossible to accept. Some believe it, but dismiss it because it’s so basic, so familiar.

But the implications of this for your life are staggering. For today, let’s leave it at this: If God exists and made all there is, then all that God made comes to us a gift. And the only fitting response from us is gratitude.

Enjoy the world you inhabit today. Savor all that’s around you. Sights and smells, sunlight or rain, the amazing uniqueness of a person’s voice and face, the taste of food and the aroma of coffee. And yes, you just might have a religious moment with the gift of bacon. Give thanks to God for all of his gifts.

And listen for his voice. The God who spoke still speaks.

For the gift of this day, O God, and all that it will bring we give you thanks. May every gift that surrounds us point us to you, our creator, the Giver of all good things. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.

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