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, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
- Genesis 2:4-9
There are two stories of creation in the Book of Genesis. This is the second one. Both stories emphasize the gift of creation and God as a generous and loving Creator. This second one tells of the intimate creation of humankind. It is so personal and grounded. In fact, the human being is created from the dust of the ground; breath is placed into his nostrils, and he is placed in a garden of growth, delight, and abundance.
There is much to discover in this garden, so much joy, so much fruition, so much life. And yes, there is a tree of knowledge, a tree of God. This tree plays a part later on in the story. For the time being it is a glorious and idyllic scene… humanity created by God, life given by God. We may stop in this
garden for a moment and relish its beauty and abundance. In the garden we can discover God and our own creation as beloved creatures and children of a loving Creator.
Lent is a time for us to discover the gift of creation anew. Early spring is at hand, so we see the renewal of creation around us. Even more so, we can enter the space of our own souls and remember that we have been created out of the love of God. We can own the fact that we are created of the dust (and indeed that we shall return to dust at the end of this mortal sojourn.) But the dust and earth mean more than that in this creation story. They indicate the rootedness of our lives in the earth and all creation and life itself.
Where do you see the glory of creation and life around
you? How do you perceive being created as a beloved creature and child of God? What grounds and roots you in life and in God? What does it mean for you to be a steward of creation, your own and that of the world around you?
- The Rev’d Dr. Jim Lemler, Rector