The new message series is based on our readings in Genesis (You can find a reading schedule here). We’re calling it:
We’re going to spend 3 weeks reading through the first 12 chapters of Genesis. This will take us to Ash Wednesday, a day when Christians reflect on our mortality. With all the wrong choices we’ll read about in Genesis, we should be well prepared to reflect on our own wrong choices and our need for redemption.
“In the beginning…” is the way the Bible starts. It’s one word in Hebrew: B’reshiyth. When the Bible was translated into Greek, the fist book was given the name Genesis, which is Greek for “birth” and “origin.”
Where the Story Begins
The Bible begins with two stories of creation. Chapter 1 is a poem with meter, rhythm and cadence. Chapter 2 is a narrative. The accounts have similarities and differences.
Last Sunday’s message began with this thesis: Where and how you begin the story, where and how you end the story, determines what story you are telling.
Obvious, right? Well, it’s amazing how many Christians begin the biblical story with Genesis 3, focusing on sin and the fall of humanity. Neither the word sin nor the word fall occurs in Genesis 3. If you begin the story with Genesis 3, the primary issue becomes the removal of sin and the posture toward people is who we are not (not worthy, not holy, not good enough). If you begin the story with Genesis 1 and 2, the story becomes about the restoration/renewal/reconciliation of all things, which obviously includes the removal of sin but extends to the ends of the cosmos.
The audio of the message is here. (Footnote: two summers ago I heard Rob Bell talk about the importance of beginning the story at the beginning in which he made the (now) obvious connection between Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22. I drew much of the message from him.)
A Sailor in the Desert
The story of Noah takes up almost ¼ of the first twelve chapters of Genesis. It’s always been surprising to me that we turn this into a children’s story.
The narrative is about a very human-like, frustrated Creator who decides to destroy creation and start over. After the deed is done you can feel this Creator wondering, “What have I done?” as the promise is offered that never again will all of the earth be destroyed by a flood. The Creator then declares, “I am laying down my bow in the clouds as a sign of this promise” (see Genesis 9:9-12). What an image: the rainbow as a weapon used to launch-not arrows-but a flood.
The story is so vast, rich and multidimensional that it can’t be captured in one sermon (unless we’re going to stay together through the afternoon!). Sunday morning I want to look at what it was about Noah that made him a person God was able to use—there’s a lot of carry over from his situation to ours. Then on Wednesday at our noon Lunch Break Bible Study we’ll discuss some of the theological issues in the story of the flood.