“God is the subject of life. God is the foundation for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God.” –Eugene Peterson
It is January of 2020. Sixty plus years ago, that seemed so very far away from my then present reality. But here we are, still alive, still in love with God, our Father who created all and is in all who believe and desire a relationship with God.
We finished the gospels yesterday. I prayed and thought about where to go next in reading, writing in my journal, praying and meditating about the Center of my life. Why not begin at the beginning?
“Genesis gets us off on the right foot. Genesis pulls us into a sense of reality that is God-shaped and God-filled. It gives us a vocabulary for speaking accurately and comprehensively about our lives, where we come from and where we are going, what we think and what we do, the people we live with and how to get along with them, the troubles we find ourselves in and the blessings that keep arriving.” —Peterson
Genesis uses words to make a foundation that is solid and true. Everything we think and do and feel is material in a building operation in which we are engaged all our life long. There is immense significance in everything that we do. Our speech an dour actions and our prayers are all, every detail of them, involved in this vast building operation comprehensively known as the Kingdom of God.
BUT we don’t build the foundation. The foundation is given. The foundation is firmly in place.
Jesus concluded his most famous teaching by telling us that there are two ways to go about our lives, we can build on sand or we can build on rock. No matter how wonderfully we build, if we build on sand it will fall to pieces like a house of cards. We build on what is already there, on the rock.
Genesis is a verbal witness to that rock: God’s creative acts, God’s intervening and gracious judgements, God’s call to a life of faith, God’s making covenant with us.
But Genesis presents non of this to us as an abstract, bloodless “truth” or “principle.” We are given a succession of stories with named people, people who loved and quarreled, believed and doubted, had children and married, experienced sin and grace. If we pay attention, we find that we ourselves are living variations on these very stories. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and his sons, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Joseph and his brothers. The stories show clearly that we are never outsiders or spectators to anything in “heaven and earth.”
God doesn’t work impersonally from space, He works with us where we are, as He finds us. No matter what we do, whether good or bad, we continue to be part of everything that God is doing. Nobody can drop out–there’s no place to drop out to. So we may as well get started and take our place in the story–at the beginning.
We will be using Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, written carefully and concisely in a language we can understand. Peterson is not only a notable, trusted theologian, he was a caring pastor who wanted his congregants to know God and His Son’s story of redemption.
We will also be using Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby as a backdrop for understanding more about who God is and what He desires from us as He continues to grow us through the process of prayer, study and storytelling.
Are you ready? I’m excited for what God, our Father will teach us!
Genesis – First, God
1-2 First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.
3-5 God spoke: “Light!”
And light appeared.
God saw that light was good
and separated light from dark.
God named the light Day,
he named the dark Night.
It was evening, it was morning—
Dear Heavenly Father, Creator, Lord and Savior,
Thank you for Light.
In Jesus Name, Amen