Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2:1
Key verse: (1:31) “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
Reflection: Happy New Year! I’ve never been more ready to say that phrase. On to 2021 and hopefully a post-Covid world coming into view!
New Year’s Day is a day of new beginnings for many. As a church community, today we embark on a year-long Bible-reading journey. For more info see visit our website. Using your own Bible or the Read Scripture app, you will have access to a year-long reading plan, with options available for all ages. Helpful videos from the Bible Project are also included that will give you great overviews of the blocks of scripture assigned for each day. Our daily devotions this year will be taken from each day’s readings. So far, we’ve had over 200 people register for this challenge. I hope you’ll join us!
Today we begin at the beginning: Genesis 1-3. Now THAT’s a new beginning! These chapters offer two creation narratives, and the story of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Our focus for today’s devotion will be on chapter 1. Scholars believe this version of the creation narrative comes from the priestly source, as it is structured like a liturgy with a recurring theme, and establishes the Sabbath as the day of rest.
The recurring theme is, “And God saw that it was good.” It’s so important to remember that the underlying essence of creation is good. In fact, after human beings are added as God’s signature project, God declares creation to be “very good.” Too much Christian theology begins with brokenness and sin, focusing on the sin that separates us from God, and not on the image of God imprinted on our souls, and the inherent goodness of God’s creation. Genesis 1 reminds us of this truth. The rocks and trees, the birds and bees, the sky and seas, you and me — were all born of God’s goodness. The disobedience that comes in chapter 3 goes against who we were created to be. To sin is not to be human, it is to be in-human, inhumane. To be human is to be very good, to reflect the image of God within us. Jesus is fully human because he is without sin. He shows us the fullness of humanity, untainted by the disobedience defining Genesis 3. He shows us who we are called to be as fully human beings, nothing more, and nothing less.
As this New Year begins with “a clean slate,” may we remember the goodness inherent in creation and in every one of us.
Prayer: (“i thank you God, by e.e. Cummings):
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Author: Joe Clifford
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].