May 20, 2021

May 20, 2021

 May 20, 2021

Genesis 2: 4-7 NKJV
Susan Collins
Laity
Scenic South District

This is the [a]history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; 6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

When teaching children the Genesis story, which one do you choose? The first account of creation is ordered into days of creating, orderly appearances, evaluations, and assessments by the  Creator, and, finally, rest. The Trinity acts to deliver the fundamental elements of life on planet Earth and surveys them. Once, it was described by one of my children as “point and shoot by God.”  It is so adaptable to a Vacation Bible School format. The classroom activity table is easily made into the creation elements of the day. Consider, however, if you were assigned the “second” creation story. This story is significantly different.

The first thing that we notice about Genesis 2 is that this is the history of the heavens and the Earth. Creation itself is the protagonist, and we, as readers, are instantly told that they have life of their own, given by the Creator. That understanding alone changes our response and responsibility to the created world in which we live, even without direct instruction from the Creator God. If Genesis 1 is a “Call” to us to understand that the Earth on which we spend these days is made by Creator God, then certainly, the creation account in Genesis 2 is the “response,” where we see that Creator here, involved, concerned with us, with this planet, with lovingly bringing it to life for a purpose.

The world described in Genesis 2 began as a blank canvas. Have you ever painted on canvas? It is both an invitation and a warning. You think things will go one way as you put brush to paint and begin to design, but somehow, that brush finds a will of its own, and you may not have painted what you had hoped. In Genesis 2:5, we see that things are not yet growing on the earth, that people were not cultivating. That these are necessary activities is a whole other discussion because we as a nation are making it almost impossible for small-scale farming, under 100 acres, to survive. Yet, these farms provide the most healthy and diverse fresh foods available that are grown locally, sustainably. Nevertheless, moving back to creation, God, YHWH, sees what is needed and provides it. Mist rises up from the earth and waters the ground.

Out of this freshly watered earth, the next act related is in Genesis 2:7. This soil, this clay, was scooped up by our Creator, in hands of love and care, and made into a person. The very breath of life itself was breathed from the face of God into nostrils that had known no air, and human life was painted onto the blank canvas of Creation. The tenderness with which this was surely done, how the thoughts of the Creator attended to the minutiae of our beings, so intricately and reliably woven together, is an act of great love and devotion. Sadly, like the paintbrush that does not always do what I wish it would do, we as humans have not always maintained our covenant with our Creator God. From the very first, we have painted a very different picture than the one that God imagined as God was tenderly and carefully molding us into life. We have and still go our own way and paint a different picture with our free will. Paint a picture that is something beautiful and full of the glory of creation and all its possibilities at one point and another that is convicting, full of violence, greed, and power-wielding over those that we choose to demean in another.

Choose your creation story, friends. Wield your brush with care and prayer. Genesis 2 tells us not just a cautionary tale but a devastating one. Let us choose the joy, love, and care our Creator offered to us as we were meant to be, let us choose life.

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