From the Author
The Spring COVID came to Kansas City, I was fortunate to keep working, but told to work fewer hours until we got a handle on safety protocol. Being a morning person, I could do my job and be home for lunch - build a fire - smoke a cigar - and take a deep breath. I got to thinking about the Disciple Group that I had been part of before COVID and began reviewing notes I had made during discussions. Often what causes me to pause and ponder comes from the voice of another.
I have a feeling that there is more to The Seventh Day than I have seen, and I think it will come from the voice of another. Honest discussion with people willing to talk about God’s presence opens doors to understanding. The 2nd Edition includes the last chapter In the Spirit, which was written after months of weekly discussions with the Tuesday morning men's group. We did come to conclusions on both the micro and the macro level.
There is more going on here than we will ever understand.
Humanity is struggling to embrace the fullness of God’s breath.
My bride will tell you that for about a year and a half I was consumed with rereading and rewriting The Seventh Day. During the oddest hours, I would think of words and make changes. Two days later I might change those words back or change them again until they did not catch my attention.
Weaving scripture into the narrative helped me stay true to the story. I followed God’s presence in the lives of believers from the beginning through the pages of scripture. I saw a story of God’s grace. I saw a story of hope for humanity. I saw a story of hope for me. If discussing Mankind’s Relationship with Creation stirs one other soul to see God’s grace in their life - then I will feel like I have shared my blessing.
I took the cover photo at Lake Jacomo on my phone. The way the shoreline seemed to grow in height and breath following the light made me think of creation. After a smart young man lightened the tree line, I noticed a ray of light creating a halo above the rock on the shore. This picture speaks to me.
At work I am known as Terry the Painter. What we call ourselves changes who we become - but calling ourselves Methodist, or Baptist, or Buddhist doesn’t change who God is.
One of the 1st Editions made it into the hands of a grandmother in Illinois. JoAnn said she wasn't sure where the book was headed at the start, but when she was done, she asked for 10 copies for her small group. You can read her full response on the website. JoAnn was right, so I added a summary inside the front cover of the 2nd edition.
I wanted to write as few words as possible and let scripture tell the story. After editing my personal biases the book seemed rather small - and the sad part was I had only written about ½ of it. The rest is scripture copied from my old NIV Bible. So I added a section at the end called From the Fire.
I believe scripture applies to both WE and ME. The Seventh Day follows humanity’s faith journey. From the Fire reflects parts of my journey. Some have suggested that is the better part of the book.
One day the fire produced a column of flame with the top breaking away but still connected. It made me think of the Israelites in the desert following God's “Pillar of Fire” by night. God had revealed to Abraham that his descendants will be enslaved and mistreated 400 years and afterwards they will come out with great possessions. (NIV Gen 15:13-14).
So I got to thinking - what Great Possessions did the Israelites receive while they were wandering in the desert? I followed that story both ways - back to Creation - and toward the Crucifixion.
Each generation worshipped God exactly as their forefathers had done with sacrificial offerings. They sacrificed critters hoping to gain God’s favor. Nowadays, it looks like we sacrifice each other hoping to gain God’s favor. Maybe someday believers will go beyond seeking God’s favor - and accept God’s forgiveness. The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is a generational story, and we are short-term players in a long-term game.
I am struck by the intentionality of God sparking the physical universe and billions of years later hovering to create an environment where His Spirit can be sustained in a carbon-based life form. Scripture tells me humankind was chosen - empowered - and entrusted to work in and care for the garden.
The Creation Story reminds me there is something inside of me worthy to be redeemed at the cross. From the day Adam and Eve left the Garden, God has been guiding his chosen toward the cross. I don't think that has changed for us today.
God's spirit lives in each of us whether we want it or not. The question is always, “What do you want to do with it?” It is your freewill to listen and follow - or not. Either way, you won’t change God’s desire for humanity. But it will change your future dreams and desires.
I tell you at the start of the book that I am not educated, nor a theologian. What I do know, is when we talk about God, we all gain understanding. I encourage you to do your own thinking. Listen to those you trust and those you question. Listen to teachers, preachers, and pastors - but do your own thinking.
Never be afraid to circle back and review past thinking. The deeper the water gets – the clearer the water is behind you. The very act of questioning allows the Spirit within you to nurture your thoughts and desires.
Toward the end of the Forward I quoted Singer/Songwriter Kenny Loggins. His words sum up my experiences with God. “You get one chance at a life - but you get endless second chances to take it one chance at a time.”
What does truth look like for you? Do you believe the breath of God gives life to your soul - a Living Being created in His image? Is that what God is looking for? Oh I hope so - because that is what we have been praying for. For the Kingdom of Heaven to be reflected on Earth.
May it be so.
Vaya con Dios
Terry the Painter