And God saw that it was good.
This is how it all begins. Our Scriptures start at the beginning, the beginning of everything we see and know. Genesis, from the Greek word for beginnings, tells the origin story for the people of Israel, from creation through the people settling in Egypt.
Instead of getting hung up on reconciling Genesis with science, focus on why the writers/editors of Genesis included this story, written in this way. It is poetic, and contains a lot of repetition. That repetition helps communicate the message of the passage. Our God is the source of all things, including us, and God sees all of creation and calls it good. Contrary to other belief systems which can place creation as an accident or the work of evil, Genesis 1 argues that creation is a purposeful act of God that is good. Creation is God’s masterwork.
And, we are not only created by God, but we are created in the image and likeness of God. This imago Dei may be a mystery in its definition, but it is clear in its implications. James likens our careless speech to a wildfire, and states: “With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:9, NRSV). All people are made in the image of God, and we are called to treat them with dignity and respect.
September 10th marks the beginning of the Narrative Lectionary (Year 4). This time of year is a time of beginnings. Teachers and students have begun a new year of school. Many congregations kick off a new year of faith formation programming. And many people experience new beginnings, no matter what the calendar says. New beginnings can be exciting, but they can also be anxiety-producing and stressful, especially when we did not choose them.
Our faith in our Creator can soften that anxiety, when we remember that goodness and blessing can be found in every situation. Remind participants in your faith formation setting about this. Remind them that they are beloved children of God, made in God’s image. Help them to look at the new beginnings in their lives, identify their feelings about them, and seek out the good things to anticipate and celebrate. This can be expressed in conversation, art, meditation, writing, or any other way you can think of. Faith is formed in every action, experience, and relationship that nurtures a relationship of trust with God and shapes the way we see and interact with God’s world.
Blessings on your faith formation journey this year!
-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)
This week’s FREE resource is an opening prayer and litany from our Living the Word: Cross+Generational Worship product. This product provides a weekly interactive liturgy aimed at all ages designed to make our worship services accessible and engaging for everyone in the congregation, from every generation. Use this in worship or in any other context to help make this story come alive to your congregation!