DAY 1: Genesis 1 & 2 – Psalm 19
LIKE NO OTHER
I remember the first time reading sitting down to read Genesis 1 & 2 back to back in my Freshman year of college in my first Theology class and feeling kind of, well dumb. I had heard the creation of the world in 7 days… I had heard Adam and Eve countless times. But simply reading them back to back I was a bit taken aback. They can’t both be right. The details don’t mesh. Most notably where in Chapter 1, humanity seems plural and made in totality in God’s image on Day 6 – while in Chapter 2 it starts with only Adam and then Eve. Suffice it to say, I had a good, faithful Catholic priest as a professor who appreciated the vulnerability of a 17-year-old beginning to look and question his faith at an impressionable time in his life. He, like Fr. Mike did in his 5 points before starting the Bible in a Year series explained the importance of not looking at the Bible as a news report or history book. That yes, this is God’s living word – and all of it’s true… but that truth is conveyed in a lot of different ways.
And so as we begin, and learn of our origins, we’re reminded that this is a story like no other. It’s God’s story. And because it’s His story – it’s ours.
DAY 2: Genesis 3 & 4 – Psalm 104
The take away for me reading this heart-wrenching scene of sin entering into creation:
The serpent (“devil”) doesn’t challenge God’s authority or existence – he challenges God’s TRUSTWORTHINESS
God doesn’t want us to simply believe in Him. He wants us to trust Him.
DAY 3: Genesis 5 & 6- Psalm 136
Listening to genealogies can be difficult and really dry and boring. The names and length of years and generations are off-putting since a majority of the names are unfamiliar. But Fr Mike made a great point that stood out for me. How this is setting the stage for what’s to come. We hear the origins of the “wickedness of man was great in the earth” -Genesis 6:5 – or as Fr Mike put it, things escalated really quickly once sin enters into the picture. But the takeaway for me was the point, despite all of that, despite the confusion, the story of the flood often causes people, at its heart, we hear that it tells us God does not give up on us. In the midst of great destruction to come- Great Hope is found in Noah as Noah walked with God.
DAY 4: Genesis 7, 8, 9 – Psalm 1
The story of the floods always unsettles people and can be a controversial point when simply taken out of context… where people point to it as “Mean God” – when the reality is again humanity rejecting God, living against His commands. Ultimately it’s their hardness of heart that results in their demise. By not being in a relationship with God, unlike Noah, they don’t hear the call to build the Ark, to not lose hope in the midst of the floods, and to trust that God is faithful to His promises. (Remember these passages when Lent comes around and we’re “in the Ark” for 40 days!)
The takeaway from Fr Mike’s reflection for me today though was what I titled this “Brokenhearted” – First God, then Noah… God was initially broken-hearted (as we read in Day 3: the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” Gen 6. That broke God’s heart to see that sin had so corrupted his creation, that only Noah remained righteous in his eyes. So he puts all his hopes in the righteousness of this one man to give creation a new start.
For Noah, after the flood, after the covenant with God, after all he and his family had experienced and learned, we hear of the sin of the son Ham (as Father Mike explained the interpretation of the Ham “saw the nakedness of his father.”) Here the reality of how entrenched the original sin of Adam and Eve still afflicted nature, broke nature – still rears it’s ugliness even in the face of God’s favor and blessings is striking.
God had put down his bow… humanity had not.
DAY 5: Genesis 10 & 11 – Psalm 2
Going through genealogies can be laborious… Having been a lector before being ordained a Deacon and a Priest, I would find it intimidating trying to pronounce all those names and would get lost in the monotony of it. It’s far from the most dynamic of chapters to power through…
Yet it teaches us something important:
Every one of us is known.
Every one of us is noticed.
Every one of us has a name given by God
Every one of us is a part of the family. From the Nimrods to the Noah’s (hopefully those of you who listened to the podcast already are laughing)
God has a dream in His heart for the ultimate good of all His children. This is why it’s sad to once again be confronted by the brokenness of humanity… as the Nimrods decide they want to “make a name for ourselves.” We see the pitfalls of ambition rather than, as Fr Mike pointed out – the pursuit of excellence.
Good reminders for us in terms of examining our consciences to make sure we keep our pride, our egos in check. To be the productive members of God’s family He desires us to be.