In the midst of one of the creation stories in the book of Genesis in the Bible, the one that tells the story about how human beings, when they were still in the Garden of Eden and all was good, broke the rules and began a spiral into one lie after another (Genesis 2), we discover that God was in the habit of walking in the garden with Adam and Eve, friends, hanging out together in the garden. One of my favorite sermons was published in 1927 by James Weldon Johnson, an early civil rights activist, diplomat, and educator, called “The Creation.” In it, God says “I’m lonely. I’ll make me a world.” And the creation proceeds… light, darkness, sun, moon, land, oceans, trees, flowers, birds and beasts, until finally God walked around and looked at all God had made, and said, “I’m lonely still.”
Then God sat down
On the side of a hill where He could think;
By a deep, wide river He sat down;
With His head in His hands,
God thought and thought,
Till He thought, “I’ll make me a man!”
Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled Him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of His hand;
This Great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till He shaped it in His own image;
Then into it He blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
I love this story, because it takes all the stories of God in the Bible, and pulls them together into one simple truth: God created us to be in relationship with God, and God loves us, and longs for us.
I know not all of us grew up with that image of God, but this is a God that I know at the core of my being, and I long to be so enveloped in that relationship that it permeates every breath I take. I know that at times when God walks in the garden of my life, God calls and I am not there, because I have gotten so caught up in my own life that I have forgotten about God. But I long to be so attentive to God that I never miss the voice of the one who loves me and longs for me, and will watch over me always.
- What was your picture or image of God when you were growing up? Was it a positive one, or a negative one?
- I imagine the way I WANT to always be with my pet to somewhat mirror the kind of relationship I long for with God. As you consider your relationship with your pet, what do you learn, either about your relationship with God, or about what you long for your relationship with God to be?
- Read again the story from The Creation about God making human beings. Imagine what it might be like to be held by the hands of God, as God lovingly molds you and forms you into a living being.
- If you are able, give thanks for the love God folds into you. If you are not able to go there yet, perhaps you may wish to ask for help in knowing the love that James Weldon Johnson knew when he preached that sermon.