Beyond Eight Days

My post on the group name Eighth Day brought this fascinating response from my dear JL. She writes:

I can’t add anything to your critique of the group Eighth Day and its use of Luke 2:21, since you’ve pretty much said what I would think. But the term, “Eighth Day” has been around in branches of Christianity for a longer time - as in the book title Eighth Day of Creation published in 1971 by Elizabeth O’Connor, a staff member at Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. CoS is a community that has generated at least 50 mission groups or de-centralized churches that emphasize activism, spiritual contemplation, and caring for the poor [for more on the church, go here, here, and here]. The title of the book alludes to this quote: “Creativeness in the world is, as it were, the eighth day of creation,” from Nicolas Berdayev’s The Divine and the Human published in 1949. To me, the phrase “8th Day of Creation” proclaims that God didn’t “finish” creation on the 7th day, after all. Even Genesis says God just rested on the 7th day. So we, the people, humans, are continuing the work of creation…. hence an emphasis on discovering gifts and talents, expressing them in many ways including the arts, from the ’60s on. I suspect that in some way the uprising of sg during those decades is somehow, if only tangentially, related to that sense…. that through the singing one continues the work begun by the creator. I think that philosophy influenced my own theology some, and I think it also may be linked in some fashion to the UCC’s “God is Still Speaking” emphasis running currently: We are all living in the 8th and subsequent days and neither the stone commandments of Moses nor the scroll envisioned by John were the end of creation, revelation, or salvation for that matter. So I was disappointed to learn that this Eighth Day group is, as you point out, stuck on something from the Old Law, like the circumcision rite. I too remember the song you mention…the eight that stood at the gate and for the life of me I can’t recall if that is some actual biblical reference or not. fwiw.

Perhaps JL has just given Eighth Day a graceful way out of their current circumcised pickle. Take down that prominent reference to Luke 2:21 and put Berdayev’s quotation up. Yeah, yeah … I know. The likelihood of a sg group posting a quote by some Russian guy is pretty slim. And nevermind that some theological goons would probably come after the poor trio if it tried to suggest a metaphorical, non-literalist interpretation to the meaning of Biblical creation. But still … this whole notion of creation continuing after the seventh day really strikes me quite nicely. Reminds me of those lines in “There is a River”:

The prophet gave this promise
The Spirit shall descend
And from your inner being
A River with no end …

Like the suggestion of an eighth-day continuum of spiritual creation, this lyric emphasizes the renewal of spirit within the individual, from within. Not only is this an empowering promise. It also throws the individual back on the moral imperatives of collective living, since the same spirit animating you is, by this model, at work in those around you.

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