Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

A few months ago I was asked by a friend to write a one-page Lenten reflection.  His idea was to find 40 different folks who would each write a reflection and then he would compile them into a complete one-a-day collection to be read during Lent.

This is what I contributed.  In the booklet it’s the reflection for day 2 of Lent and since today is the second day of Lent, I thought I would share it here as well.

………………..

h/t to Pastor Megan Ramer of Seattle Mennonite Church who preached a sermon last Fall and happened to mention that it matters where you start a story.   She was speaking about something different (something from the gospels, if memory serves) but the phrase stuck in my head and got the wheels turning for this.


 


Genesis 1

God saw how good [it] was…
God saw how good it was…
God saw how good it was…
God saw how good it was…
God saw how good it was…
God saw how good it was…

God blessed them…

God saw everything [God] had made: it was supremely good.

 

My husband and I recently decided that our boys, ages seven and nine, had reached a critical juncture. They were finally ready. It was time to introduce them to Star Wars. But with this realization also came the all-important question: which movie should we start with?  You can kick off with movie number one which is technically number four in the cannon.  Or you can lead out with movie number four which is number one.  It’s confusing.  But it’s a serious decision (in the world of Star Wars anyway) because it matters where you start the story.  

In the Church we usually start the story of God with sin. People sin and need a savior. Enter: Jesus.  But when we start with sin we start in the wrong place.  The beginning of the story of God is not sin.  It’s benediction.  Seven times in Genesis 1 it says that God saw the goodness of all that God had made.  Seven times God pronounced creation good.  

But rather than start the story with this “liturgy of abundance,” as theologian Walter Brueggemann calls it, we usually start with a myth of scarcity.  We start with sin which alters the way that we understand the narrative.  Starting the story with sin flings wide the door for shame and a sense that, at our core, we are corrupt.  But the blessings of Genesis 1 tell us something different. They tell us that we were joyfully created by the benevolent hand of an abundant God and that, at our core, we are supremely good.  

This is not to suggest that we skip over sin altogether. Sin is still part of the story.  We’re not getting off the hook that easy!  Lent is, after all, a season for grieving the ways that we are missing the mark in our efforts to live lives of love.  But sin isn’t the beginning of the story. So let’s not rush ahead.  Let’s first sit awhile under the pronouncement that we are good and allow God to extend over us a banner of love.  Because that’s where the story starts.  

Site Footer