Created for togetherness

Posted May 2, 2022

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Daily Scripture

MONDAY 5.2.22 Genesis 1:27-31

27 God created humanity in God’s own image,
in the divine image God created them,
male and female God created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.” 29 Then God said, “I now give to you all the plants on the earth that yield seeds and all the trees whose fruit produces its seeds within it. These will be your food. 30 To all wildlife, to all the birds in the sky, and to everything crawling on the ground—to everything that breathes—I give all the green grasses for food.” And that’s what happened. 31 God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.

Reflection Questions

Genesis 1 did not expressly mention marriage, but its view of creation carried major implications for all close human relationships. “Genesis supplements ‘created in God’s image’ with the affirmation that God thus made humanity ‘male and female.’ Women and men together comprise this image. The statement is an extraordinary one in this opening chapter of Genesis, written in a patriarchal culture….both male and female belong to the image.” *

  • What this creation story did not say was striking. “There is no suggestion in the creation stories that God designed the world to be a place where any human beings exercised authority over any others. There was no authority to be exercised by men over women, or husbands over wives; there were no masters and servants or slaves; there were no kings and subjects.” ** How did that picture of original harmony point toward the type of mutuality God intended for humans?
  • Genesis 1 also stressed the value of mutuality by saying God directed all the initial commands to “them,” not just to one or the other of the archetypal humans. There is no sign that rigid gender identities or roles were set up “in the beginning.” Rather, God saw that all of humanity was “very good.” How should this creation story shape our view of God’s ultimate design for humans?

Prayer

Loving Lord, thank you that the Bible’s first story didn’t say you created “better” and “worse” humans, just a “very good” family bearing your image. Guide me in letting that shape my attitudes and actions. Amen.


* John Goldingay, Genesis for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1–16. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010, p. 21.

** Ibid., p. 22.

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Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt is an ordained Elder in the Missouri Annual Conference, and has served in many different roles throughout Missouri since 2007. She is thrilled to be specializing in pastoral care of elderly adults now as Resurrection's Silverlink Pastor. She is married to Randall, a special education teacher. They have two daughters, Elliott and Marlowe. When Emily is not in a care home sharing communion or with her family on another Kansas City adventure, you can find her curled up on the couch at home binge watching "Friends" or "Golden Girls."

Last Saturday (April 23rd, 2022) marked the two-year anniversary of my spouse’s father losing a battle with colon cancer. As I am sure many of you have also experienced, grieving is even harder during a pandemic. We did not get to have a large funeral service for him (and it would have been significant given his missionary work in Kenya, East Africa for forty years before his death!). We are still trying to sort through our grief without the sense of closure a funeral service would have given us. Knowing this was coming, I was intentional as I planned what we might do together as a family on April 23 to honor his legacy and comfort my husband. I found a tulip farm in Kearney, MO for us to visit. That seemed fitting because Randy loved to buy my mother-in-law flowers. We ate Indian food for lunch since that was a favorite of his. When we returned home, I made a Boston Cream pie--his favorite, and it has become a favorite of my husband’s as well.

Our baby girls are 21 months and 4 months old, so having a lot of time to ourselves is not our reality right now. Between diaper changes, temper tantrums and midnight feedings, we do not get a ton of time to relax. So it took us all weekend to do one more thing to honor Randy--this one Randall came up with. We started an episode of the 1970’s TV show “Columbo” on Friday evening, watched a little during nap times on Saturday and Sunday and finished it Sunday evening. I had never seen an episode before. Randall delighted in telling me why his dad loved the series so much.

As I started to consider this new sermon series on relationships, I realized that one of Columbo’s “things” in the show was to appear as though he did not ever really know what was going on in the case, but at the last minute, he'd come in with the “and one more thing...” that solved the case and made him the hero every time. I have to admit I was a bit convicted as I thought through the way I sometimes act when Randall and I have had a disagreement. When Columbo offers his “one more thing,” it is a way to solve the case. Sometimes when I offer one more thing to my spouse (or in any other relationship-at work, with my parents or brother, with friends), it is offered to prove I am right, not build mutuality.

The Genesis text is clear that relationships are about both parties being valued and heard. One is not better or more powerful than the other. Both parties matter. What “one more thing” could you say to a loved one today? Is it to build a bridge? Or is to be right? I am going to be thinking about Columbo the next time I am trying to solve a problem, and be very careful that my "one more thing" honors God’s desire for mutuality in relationship.

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