We Are Not Our Own: Pentecost 13 (Narrative Lectionary)

Narrative Lectionary Reflection

September 8, 2019

Read Genesis 2:4b-25 (CEB)

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Reflection

Happy New Year everyone!  This Sunday we start a new year in the Narrative Lectionary.  The gospel focus is on the book of Mark, but we will get to that later in the year.  Right now, we start at the beginning- the very beginning.

This week’s text begins with the second creation story.  Yes, I said second creation story.  Genesis 1 has the first story which is probably the most well-known.  Genesis 2 is a shorter story.  Genesis 1 is going step by step, telling us what God did on what day and it ends with God taking a rest.  Genesis two rushes past the rest of creation and focuses almost exclusively on humans.

This should give you a clue as to what this passage is will focus on, or should I say who this passage will focus on.  Verse 8 tells us that God created man from the earth.  The Hebrew word for humanity is adam.  Adam is related to another Hebrew word, adamah which means “dust of the ground.”  This story tells us that humans are related to the living environment, that we are in relationship with the rest of creation.

There is also a relationship established between God and adam.  In fact, the adam is given a vocation in naming the animals.  But God didn’t think it right that the adam is the only one of his kind.  This is where God causes Adam to go into a sleep, takes a rib and forms a companion, a woman.  When Adam says that Eve is bone of my bone, he is saying that woman and man are related to one another.  There is no hierarchy, but there is relating.

The first phrase of the New Creed of the United Church of Canada says “We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.”  We aren’t alone which can mean that life isn’t all about us.  We live in a world where we are called to be in community to each other.  God created a world that was designed for relationship, for mutuality.  The danger of our time, actually of any time, is that we are the center of everything. The second creation story reminds us that God world is about relationship, about caring for each other.

The hymn “We Are Not Our Own” by Brian Wren tells us that the world doesn’t revolve around ourselves.

We are not our own. Earth forms us,
human leaves on nature’s growing vine,
fruit of many generations,
seeds of life divine.

The last hymn tells that because we are in relation with God and God’s creation, we are called to welcoming to those who cross our path:

Let us be a house of welcome,
living stone upholding living stone,
gladly showing all our neighbors
we are not our own!

We aren’t our own. We are from adamah.  We belong to God.  Let’s act like it.

Words Copyright © 1989 by Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL (www.hopepublishing.com) for the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; and Stainer & Bell Limited, London, England, (www.stainer.co.uk) for all other territories.

Dennis Sanders is the Pastor at First Christian Church of St. Paul in Mahtomedi, Minnesota. He’s written for various outlets including Christian Century.

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