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As we begin our new Narrative lectionary cycle, we begin at the beginning of the Bible – which is probably a very good place to start. This creation telling is but one of at least 3 other tellings. It was recorded whilst the Israelites were in exile following the Babylonian conquest which saw a large number of the Israelite people taken away from Jerusalem and the surrounding area into Babylon. The Temple had been destroyed and the Babylonians hoped to disperse and eventually wipe out the Jewish people though assimilation and distance from their home lands. But the Jews were not got rid of so easily. As they fought to maintain their identity as the People of God, they began to record their history and the history of God’s presence in their lives and the world. They recorded the things that would make them stand out as people of God. One of the things we hear about in this telling is that God rested on the 7th day, the idea that they would also rest on the 7th day and not work all week was not the usual practice and made them stand out from those around them. The keeping of the Sabbath helped to make them known as Jewish. It became part of their identity. But what is also intriguing is that because this first passage in the Bible is about beginnings, not endings, there is an unknown in it too. The act of creation did not just stop there. God did not know how it would all turn out. God has set life on the loose, and moves with creation into the unknown, into relying on the faith of the people that will be born through this creation. It is a beginning without an ending and a story that embraces freedom and choice. I think we find ourselves in a bit of a beginning too. We’ve done some exploring over the last few weeks about some of the changes and challenges we face as we are the people of God in this place. As we step into the rest of this year and work with whatever it may hold, we are starting afresh – at least that is what I feel is happening. We are more aware, we are asking good and right questions, oh we’re not going to get it right all the time, but we are exploring and hopefully open to changes. These next few weeks will encourage us to go. To go do something, to go experience something, to go and care for things and people around us. To go and be the people that God has created us to be.

Jay Robinson

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