. . . our very own faith story tells us that we are a part of Creation. We are formed from the very same stuff which nourishes our food, which nourishes the trees, which houses so many living things.
April 24, 2022
Out of the Ground
Pastor Heather McColl
Genesis 2: 1-9a
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.
Out of the Ground Genesis 2:1-9a
This Sunday, we are talking about the “other” creation story. We are more familiar with the first creation story, the one that starts out “In the beginning” and then goes on to tell us about the next seven days. Then we usually skip a few verses and end up in the Garden with Adam and Eve, thinking it is all part of one big story. But if we take a look at the beginning of Genesis, we actually see that there are two separate creation stories, each one with its own description of how the world came into being.
The “other” Creation story is not as lyrical or poetic as the first one. And it is certainly not as dramatic. It is more down to earth, literally. We are told that God plants a garden in Eden in which God puts the man, Adam. The name Adam comes from the word A-da-m in Hebrew which means human. It is a play on words-A-da-m (human) is taken out of the earth (Ada/mah) which is Hebrew for earth. This play on words reminds us that we humans are made from dust, literally dirt, molded by the hands of God, and given life by God’s own breath. This is a wonderful reminder that we are formed from the very same stuff which nourishes our food, which nourishes the trees, which houses so many living things. This is a wonderful reminder of our deep connection to all of Creation.
When we take a look at the “other” creation story, we see that knowing and understanding, and more importantly, accepting this connection to Creation shapes the rest of our faith story. It becomes part of our identity as people of God. Embracing our connection to Creation on such an intimate level changes how we view the world around us, Creation is no longer something which is impersonal or separate from us. Now Creation is us. It is our very being. It is our life. Creation is our own DNA if you will.
And when we start reviewing our faith story, we realize that this naming of our connection to Creation is not limited to Genesis 2. It is not even limited to Genesis1. Creation has been connected to our faith story since the beginning. It has played a part in our faith story, pointing us toward God, reminding us of God’s love and grace. In other words, Creation is our faith story brought to life.
Think about some of the Bible stories that we were taught as children. When we think about those stories, we realize that creation was used in these stories as signs of God’s promises of new life and light for the people of God. In the Bible, Creation becomes a way for God to interact with and reassure the people of God. In the stories found in our Bible, stories that we tell over and over again, we realize that Creation becomes a way for God to show God’s love and grace to the children of God.
Right off the top of my head, the first story that comes to mind is the story of Noah’s ark. Now in this story, we may remember that God had destroyed the world in a flood. Yes, I will admit, not God’s finest hour, but the story of Noah’s ark goes beyond telling us about the power and might of God. It also tells us about the grace and love of God. And it does this by telling us how God gave a sign, a sign found in creation to always remind people of God’s love and grace. That sign was a rainbow.
In the story of Noah’s ark, we are told that all the earth was full of darkness. It was full of churning water. And then suddenly the rains stopped, and the light began to dry out the land. The light began to overcome the darkness. The Light began to overcome the chaos. And in that moment, when chaos and darkness was no more, God gave a sign, a sign of love and grace found only in creation, in that moment, God gave a sign to remind the people always of God’s promises. In that moment, God placed the rainbow in the sky to show God’s people that out of the darkness, light and life will burst forth. God placed the rainbow in the sky as a promise to the people of God that God will never destroy the world again. God used the rainbow to show the people, to help them experience the love and grace of God in their lives always.
The rainbow becomes a sign for all of God’s children throughout time that in the midst of chaos, God will always make a living space for the people of God. The rainbow becomes a sign for all times that God will always make a space for grace and new life. It becomes God’s way of reminding God’s people, that no matter what dark waters may be churning in our lives, threatening to overtake us, God will always make a way for hope.
But this is just one story. Another story is the story of Abraham and Sarah. They were told by God to leave their homeland and to travel to an unknown country just so that God can establish a new nation for the people of God. Once again, maybe not God’s finest hour. I’m sure that Abraham and Sarah were scared out of their minds, not knowing what to expect, probably wondering what on earth they were getting themselves into, following this God, getting pushed out of their comfort zones, just because God asked them to go.
But once again, to alleviate their fears, God uses a sign found in creation. God tells them to look out at the night sky and count the stars. God then tells Abraham and Sarah that the number of their descendants will surpass the number of stars in the sky. The stars become signs of new life for them. They become signs of hope for Abraham and Sarah. The stars become physical reminders of God’s promise to them as they begin their journey of faith.
Time and time again as we remember our sacred story, we realize that Creation is right there, pointing, guiding us, leading us towards God. Creation has been and continues to be a way for us to remember our connection to God. Creation has been and continues to be the avenue which shows us that God is always making space for hope, making space for love, making space for new life for us in our sometimes chaotic and fear filled lives.
And as people of faith if we need a little reminder of just how connected we are to Creation, something that goes beyond just words on a page…Just take a look outside. Just feel the warmth of the sun upon our faces. From the soil which nourishes our food, to the trees which provide shade and beauty, our connection to Creation is essential to our very existence to humanity. Through Creation, we see the signs of hope. We see the signs that God is still working, that God is still redeeming, that God is still filling our world with new life. Through Creation, we experience our faith story. We experience God’s grace and love. Through Creation, we as people of faith, are brought back to life. . Thanks be to God.
See also: Theology Tuesday for Sunday, April 24, 2022 – Out of the Ground Genesis 2:1-9a