Hi, my name is Andrew and I’ve been a pastor at Riverside since we moved here from Michigan in early October. Marcie and I have been married for 17 years and have five kids: Addison (14), Hosea (11), Joel (9), Gabe (6), and Eloise (3).
The passages you are going to read today are Genesis 1:26-31 and 2:15-25. These passages describe the creation of humanity; the crowning jewel of God’s creation. In Genesis 1, God emphasizes that we are created in the image and likeness of God, to watch over and care for the great gift of this world God has made. In chapter 2, the human (Hebrew ha-Adam) is given freedom to eat from the garden and is given a companion Eve so that he will not be alone. So from nearly the first breaths of humanity, God decides that people should be connected in healthy and close relationships with Him and with one another. This is the original picture of God’s shalom, a Hebrew word that describes wholeness in relationships and the flourishing of God’s Kingdom in concrete expressions.
This narrative connects to the birth of Christ because it is the very foundation of the incarnation. Jesus is the Word made flesh, the same embodied humanity of Adam and Eve. And the actively flourishing shalom of Eden is precisely what Christ comes to earth to restore; in fact, a new and greater shalom is made possible in Christ. This new shalom will be the picture of justice and reconciliation and all things made new, and what we see in Eden is a foretaste of the glory that will come on the other side of our history.
- What does it mean to your faith and theology that Christ comes in the same flesh as you and I?
- How is God inviting you to lean into His shalom? Is there something specific you can do to bring about flourishing today?