Nov 082015

BCaD week 1

Week one of my #BCaD project has now happened, and it’s been so cool to see so many people joining in, reading the Bible and sharing their thoughts and reflections. This is a collection of my posts, and some short reflections I’ve written. I’m loving it! Also, check out these two blogs (here and here) that people I’ve met in just the last couple of months that they’ve set up to share their journey with #BCaD. If you’ve not got involved yet, join us!

Genesis 1

It strikes me that a lot of talk about ‘creation’ is about the questions when and the how. It’s what we, with our 21st Century scientific interest are fascinated by. But the Bible doesn’t kick off with a science lesson. It kicks off with a beautiful, wonderful picture, verging on a poem, extolling the beauty of creation, and of the Creator. Telling us of God’s agency in creation. Telling us it is good, good, good, good and even very good once people are part of it. We are the pinnacle. God makes all of this as a canvas on which He can paint a relationship with us, those He has made in His image to love, cherish and journey with. That excited me far more than questions of how, when, six days or big bangs. That’s worth getting excited about!

Genesis 2

This chapter of the Bible, perhaps more than any other, give us a picture of what the world should be. Not what it is now, but what it should be. And the word for me that sums it up is ‘harmony’. Everything is in its place, as it should be. There is a closeness with God, where people live in submission to Him, happy with the rule He has over them. Not straining. There is an intimacy and mutuality about relationships between people, who are ‘not good’ alone, but who together are fulfilled and complete, totally comfortable together. Not ashamed. And people live at peace with nature, tending to it and nurturing it. Not striving. It’s a beautiful picture, and I want to live in that world.

Genesis 3

All the peace and harmony of Genesis 2 is now undone. When God’s word is first questioned, then twisted, then straight out challenged and denied, people end up breaking relationship with Him, straining against His rule and choosing their own way. That’s sin. Not letting God be God. And it breaks everything. We see God separating Himself from them. We see Him declare their relationships with each other will be marked by dominance and shame, not be love and intimacy. We see that it will now be a battle with nature, not a dance. Every relationship is broken when we choose ourselves over God and others. But, even at the very beginning of brokenness, God promises a solution. One day, a descendant of Eve will come and defeat this snake, this enemy, and put all things right. Sin is born, but so is hope.

Genesis 4

So if a descendant of Eve will restore peace, who will it be? Maybe Cain or Abel. No. One is murdered, and the other a murderer. But even though they aren’t the solution (in fact Cain seems to be a product of the problem), God acts with grace and causes His protection to rest over Him. He is committed to us and to His people even when we aren’t committed to Him. And so the line continues. But then there’s another line through Seth. So many people, so many options, but who will God use. This sprawling story of the world and of the search for God’s promised one has begun, and we start to get the sense that it might be as quick as at first it might have seemed!

Genesis 5

This is the first of many chapters in the Bible that is a long list of names. This person descended from that person, and lived until this age and then died. And on and on it goes. But this is an important reminder of two things. First, all are made in the image of God. These are people who carry the image, the stamp of divinity in them, and that is what humanity will always be before anything else. But second, they die. Every generation a new option for hope, but every generation also a reminder of the problem. We all die. This cycle is never how it should have been, but it is how it is. We get that the wrong way round. We’ve become so used to death, but it isn’t God’s norm. We are made for life, and death has corrupted that. But for now in the story, the cycle continues.

Genesis 6

As the people made in the image of God spread and grow and become more numerous, something else is growing too: their capacity for sin. This consistent habit and pattern of rejecting God’s best in favour of our own desires. And we see that it makes the world a horrible place, marked by violence and destruction. How far it has fallen. And it gives us one of the first pictures of the way God acts in our world to restore. In a world of sin and brokenness, He works through one man who has ‘found favour’ and who is ‘righteous’. And through that one man, He makes a way for the world to go on and for humanity as a whole to live on in closeness with God. It’s a difficult story, this Noah thing, but at it’s heart it’s a picture of God’s saving work.

Genesis 7

The story of the flood is one that I find hard. It seems so drastic and big. It’s terrible and horrible. But the thing I choose to remember is that it’s terrible and horrible not because God is those things, but because sin is those things and the consequences of sin are those things. I can get outraged at this story, but instead I choose to let it push me out of complacency. It stops me settling for sin. And it shows me the tremendous lengths that God will go, and ask His people to go, in order to forge a way for hope to continue. Very specific, but huge, instructions given to Noah, and he steps up. Will I? And will I let this sobering story sink deep into my heart and urge me to strive for God’s best, not mine.

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