Monday, August 15, 2011

In the Beginning

During my one semester of Speech and Debate, I put together a piece for a Christian invitational tournament using the English and Hebrew of Genesis 1:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

‏בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ

Bereshith bara elohim et hashamiam v'et ha'aretz.

I never read my evaluations so I don't know how other people felt about the piece, but I don't think it was one of my successful endeavors. However, it's now the Hebrew I spout off when people, on finding out that I studied Hebrew, invariably asked me to say something.

This summer we've been reading through Genesis 1 in church, and my mind is pulled back to that piece--what I thought when splicing the Hebrew and English together, where the poetry of Genesis 1 really comes out, (how often we miss that poetry when the reading is split over 7 weeks), and how everything was "tov, tov meod."

As I'm reading through Madeleine L'Engle, she spends a lot of time in Genesis, at the beginning of the world, retelling the stories that are oh-so-familiar in new and unfamiliar ways. In Many Waters, Sandy and Dennys find themselves in Noah's story, not sure how it will all play out, how they fit into the pattern. In And it was Good, L'Engle tells the story of the first birth. Pregnancy is weird now; how much more foreign it must have been for Eve and Adam who had nothing to inform their experience.

Genesis is THE beginning, but it was a beginning experienced by humans just like me. Unsure of the future, unable to avoid the pitfalls and consequences of a fallen world, stumbling, getting dirty, complaining, worrying...

Eden holds an allure of perfection and unity that I'll never experience here on earth. But every day I make a new beginning. Every term I can make a new beginning with my classes increasing degree by degree to become a better instructor, a better student. Every work week, I make a new beginning to spend more time accomplishing my tasks and less time on pinterest. Every post, I make a new beginning to be faithful in my blog updating (there is much grace and forgiveness needed for that). Every day, I make a new beginning to live in the grace given to me through my baptism. Because of the salvation I have in Christ, I know God looks over all my "new beginnings"--even the failed ones--and sees that it is very good.

Crossposted at Via Scribendi.

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