This is a story of creation and after hearing the reading, have you been wondering where the 6 days of creation and the one day of rest are laid out? That’s in the first creation story in Genesis 1. It’s a different but related story and in this, the second creation story we get more details how the earth came to be what it is. Today we’ve got your plants, we’ve got your animals, we’ve got your gardens, we’ve got your humans.[audio http://www.buzzsprout.com/33052/311007-created-to-connect.mp3]
Creation can be a pretty tough topic.
I think the first thing we may wrestle with is the whole idea of creation. How does that work? How did it all come together? I’m not entirely clear on a lot of it to be real honest about it but I’m pretty comfortable in my faith that God created everything and I don’t need to understand all the details. I don’t believe creation happened in 6 24-hour periods but I do believe God is behind all that surrounds us.
If we read the creation stories and focus on the details, we run the risk of getting bogged down in the details and miss God’s amazing creativity in bringing forth all that surrounds us. God created the process that allows us to put seeds in the ground and then later plants will emerge. There are some folks, like botanists, who understand exactly how a seed becomes a plant and I’ve got the gist but mostly I’m just grateful that it does because I like tomatoes out of my garden.
God probably had a sense of humor, too. God didn’t want adam to be alone so God created all the animals and then let Adam name them. Now imagine being adam and being responsible for all the names like the duckbill platypus. We’ll be naming some interesting animals in prime time today so stick around for that.
Once all that was taken care of God created a partner for Adam. How this all worked is one of those preaching minefields that most preachers would like to avoid, to be real honest about it. The idea and language used about how man and woman were created is pretty tough to explain in just a few minutes but it is right there so we might as well wade into it a bit.
One of the challenges in this reading is how it says that the man needed a helper and a partner. Partner works pretty well but the helper part is problematic. In some circles that phrasing has been used for centuries as one of the Bible verses to say that women are supposed to be helpers to the men. This presumes the idea that women are supposed to be subservient to men. You can think of that idea what you think of that idea but that’s not what this means.
From a language perspective the Hebrew word here for helper is the same Hebrew word used in Psalm 54:4, “But surely, God is my helper;” Be careful with what you translate and how you interpret who your helper really is, I say.
From a style perspective it is more accurate to note that man and woman were created side by side, since it was from Adam’s rib that man created woman. Side by side as equal partners in creation. Not one above and one below but together as equals.
I’d say it is likely that the point of the creation of man and woman is much less about who is superior to the other (a problem of focusing on details) and much more about being part of God’s big, amazing creation. The point of our creation stories is it shows us being in community, not alone. From the very beginning.
Community is important. Going it alone on everything is not how creation worked from the very beginning.
Think of the conversations you will have today and think about what your day would be like without those conversations. Okay, a day without conversation may sound like a vacation for some of us but think about the next week or the next month. There will indeed be some difficult conversations but what would your day, week or month look like if you had no conversations whatsoever?
Ultimately, they were naked and not ashamed. Back then, that probably means exactly what it says but what it can mean for us today is that when we are open and transparent with one another about how we do business and how we treat one another, we’ll have nothing to be ashamed about either. It is when we try to cover up our mistakes, our errors, our being human that we run into trouble.
Better yet, if we’re open and transparent with God, we’ll have nothing to be ashamed about either. That’s pretty good news.
A God that isn’t ashamed of us. A God that isn’t ashamed of us.
Imagine that. Our shame is washed away by the blood of Christ on the cross. The one who gave his body and shed his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. And then three days later rose from the grave. Eternal life you say? Yes, Yes! I do say!
No shame. Forgiveness and eternal life. What a creation!