As I write this, it is snowing outside. I must have missed it in my weather app, because it gave me a delightful surprise as I looked out my window and saw large flakes of snow start to cover the ground. I think it threw me off because just yesterday as I walked to the grocery store, I grieved a bit that the warm weather was already here. It also made me concerned for the warmth and safety of our unhoused neighbors who maybe also didn’t see this weather coming. I plan to spend some time this weekend going through my warm weather clothes and donating them, as unpredictable weather seems to be relatively predictable these days. It is a privilege to not fear inclement weather especially when it is unexpected, and as much as we can predict weather patterns with relative success, the knowledge of the day's weather is something only God knows.
God knows all things, but we often talk about it in a way that isolates everything individually. God knows the intricate workings of a flower individually, but part of that flower is the pollination process and the parts of God’s creation that participate to make it happen. Yet rarely do we talk about bees when marveling at the beauty of a flower. Likewise, God knows the prayers of our heart but also the people in our communities that are the living answers to those prayers. So, it struck me this week, as I read our scripture, that we talk a lot about the living and loving works of God and all that God knows about what comes next, but how often are we curious about what we can’t even imagine? Meaning, what has God not yet revealed to us that we can still actively prepare for? This week as we continue with this creation story in Genesis 3:1-7, I wonder what comes up for you and what you are curious about? I hope you will read through this passage a few times, each time opening your hearts and minds to what might be revealed. There are reflection questions for you to engage as well and be sure to join us for Bible Study and worship as we continue to learn with God and each other.
1 Now the serpent had more naked intelligence than any other animal of the field that the SOVEREIGN God had made. And it said to the woman, “Indeed, did God say, ‘You two shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of any tree in the garden we may eat, 3 though of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden God said, ‘You two shall not eat and shall not touch it lest you two die.’ ” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You two will certainly not die, 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you two will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her man, who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
Genesis 3:1-7 (Year W)
What was surprising to you about God?
What surprised you about the humans?
What might it mean to “not die” in this passage?
Is not dying the same as eternal life?
God calls our bodies “good” so why do you think the humans were ashamed?
What do you think it could mean that the first thing in creation to speak is a serpent?
May the Spirit of the living God continue to be with you on this Lenten journey and may you continue to find yourself rooted in the movement of the Holy.
Simple Prayer: O Holy One, Speak to me anew. Amen.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Nordia Bennett, Children’s Minister
Greetings Park Family,
The youth had a fruitful conversation in the 10am (4th grade or older) gathering. We dived deep into Genesis 2:7-9, 15-25. 10:30am we had an expansive conversation about Noah & Ark, but more importantly the significance of the abundance in water yet lacking freshwater resources for marginalized communities. I was deeply blessed by the expansiveness of conversation to radically see the sadness in the narrative but also how water is deeply tied to our humanity. The 10:30am (3rd grade or younger) explored the story of “Mary and Martha” in The Spark Story Bible. We chatted about the importance of rest and offering how one’s skills in community can be a blessing.
During the month of March, the youth will be dedicated to a redacted game of “Clue” exploring all the women in the Bible. We will journey as God journeys with us knowing women, particularly Black women live a bodily human experience that doesn’t honor their humanity. With the spirit of centering Black women, the youth will discover characteristics and attributes that women in the Bible possess.
This Sunday, the 10 am (4th grade or older) will be in fellowship exploring the manifestation of God in their daily lives in Genesis 3:1-7. The 10:30am (3rd grade or younger) will explore, “Deborah” in The Sparks Story Bible.
Pandemic of Love is a mutual aid community of care that was started in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. It humbly began on March 14th, 2020 by one person and was intended to help her own local community. But, like an epidemic, the act of love and kindness spread quickly and is now a beautiful movement helping those in need throughout the world.
What is a mutual aid community? It connects people in need with patrons who can help with that need. This is a tangible way for people to give to each other, quickly, discretely and directly.
What’s the catch? There is none. Kind people are introduced to kind people which results in an act of kindness and human connection.