Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Structure of Genesis

All Summer we are going to be telling some of the great stories in the Bible, but probably not the way you expect.  Most of us have never graduated from the kids versions of the stories and most of the time from the kid’s versions of the use of these stories.  Certainly the list will make for some great storytelling for the children, but the stories were told and compiled for adult and their meanings and uses are often very adult. 

Here is the list

  • ·         June 6, 2010  Judges  6      Gideon
  • ·         June 13, 2010  Genesis 2   Adam and Eve
  • ·         June 20, 2010  Genesis  6 – 7   Wiping Out the Earth  Noah
  • ·         June 27, 2010  1 Samuel 17   David and Goliath
  • ·         July 4, 2010  Joshua 6  Battle of Jericho  Joshua and Rahab
  • ·         July 11, 2010  Luke 19   Zacchaeus
  • ·         July 18, 2010  Number 22   Balaam and his Donkey
  • ·         July 25, 2010  Ruth
  • ·         August 1, 2010  1 Kings 16-2 Kings 2    Elijah
  • ·         August 8, 2010  Vacation Bible School Presentation
  • ·         August 15, 2010  Esther
  • ·         August 22, 2010  Daniel 6   Daniel In the Lion’s Den
  • ·         August 29, 2010  Matthew 14   Peter Walks on Water, sort of.
  • ·         September 5, 2021  Acts 9   Paul’s Conversion

It makes sense to say a word about the Book of Genesis because we will follow two stories in it in the next weeks. 

Genesis is not a history book nor a science lecture, but an exploration into ways and contexts that we are in covenant with God.  Over and over this covenant takes the shape of a three-fold relationship: our relationship to God, to other people, and to the earth itself.  Each context shapes this covenant a little differently.  
My own sense of this is that the first stories are about the times in our lives where God is in covenant with us:

  • ·         Birth, Genesis 1
  • ·         Puberty which meant getting into the world back then, Adam And Eve
  • ·         Our work, Cain and Abel
  • ·         Our organizing done in the middle of life:  Tower of Babel
  • ·         And finally, our Death, in the story of the Akedah, Abraham sacrificing his son (which in my opinion is barbaric no matter how you look at it, unless it is looking at that way God asks for everything of value back at the end of our lives.  This story is a transition moment where it looks like Abraham loses not only everything of value to himself, but also everything that God had promised.  But, if we are lucky to live long enough, that is what happens. 

The bulk of the book is looking at the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the faith and showing the contexts of where God is in relationship to human beings.

  • ·         Noah: the second creation story is about God in relationship to the whole world.
  • ·         Abraham and Sarah create a new nation with God and has to deal with other nations around him. 
  • ·         Isaac and Rebecca (here Rebecca is the key character, not Isaac.  She is the mover of the covenant and the one who most responds to God’s call.  This one is about family and God’s covenant in family.
  • ·         Jacob -- and the story is so much about Jacob, this isn’t a “patriarch story” – is about how God is in covenant with an individual working out their own stuff inside and out.
  • ·         The story of Joseph moves inward further.  How is God involved in our interior landscape, our dreams.  And in the development of covenant inside, we see connection to individual, family, nation, and among nations in the world sphere, because this will be the story that sets up a new ark (called Egypt) where the people are kept until they are recreated once again in the next story, Moses.  

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