Days of Preparation: Week Two/Session Two.
Theme: God’s Ongoing Creation.
Our reading for today: Genesis 1:6 – 2:9.
God spoke: “Let Us make human beings in Our image, make them reflecting Our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; He created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
God looked over everything He had made; it was so good, so very good!
Genesis 1: 26-28, 31 (MsgB)
As I see it, at the core of my being, there is a battle over who I really am.
Do you feel it inside you as well?
The tossing? The turning? The inward wrestling with self? The outward struggle with the voices that tell you that your life has little or no value?
It’s no wonder we struggle with our identities and our self-worth. Our dictionaries say this about you and me:
A human being is a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens. A creature distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.
The medical community and those who study the sciences associated with our human bodies say this:
The adult human body is approximately 57% water, and water is 11% hydrogen by mass but 67% by count of atoms. Thus, most of the mass of the human body is oxygen, but most of the atoms in the human body are hydrogen atoms. Body composition may also be analyzed in terms of molecular type (e.g., water, protein, connective tissue, fats (or lipids) apatite (in bones), carbohydrates (such as glycogen and glucose) and DNA. In terms of tissue type, the body may be analyzed into water, fat, muscle, bone, etc. In terms of cell type, the body contains hundreds of different types of cells, but notably, the largest number of cells contained in a human body (though not the largest mass of cells) are not human cells, but consist of bacteria (bacterial cells) residing in the normal human gastrointestinal tract.
(Summarizing what you just read…you and I are basically big bags of hot air, stuffed primarily with bacteria!) OUCH!
Our governmental system (the U.S. Code of Law) reduces our human existence down to this:
- In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.
- As used in this section, the term “born alive”, with respect to a member of the species homo sapiens, means the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.
- Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being “born alive” as defined in this section.
Hmm. Discouraged yet?
And if that isn’t enough, let’s face it. If the world had its way, it would like nothing better than to reduce my entire human existence down to the information found on my birth certificate, my medical record, my school transcript, my driver’s license, my social security card, my resume, my credit score, and finally, my short obituary. Oh yeah, and now most newspapers charge 10 cents per word if my obit runs longer than 75 words!
But wait! For those who believe there is more to life than what the world says about us…what about God? What does He say about me? What does His Holy Word say about you? Author Eugene Peterson says…
The central theme in the religious life isn’t my knowledge of God but His knowledge of me.
As I see it, today’s passage, tucked neatly at the beginning of my Bible, has some pretty nifty stuff to say about us. Let me summarize it for you:
Genesis 1: 26-31 (MsgB)
I am made in the image of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I am made to reflect the nature (or character) of God.
I am made to prosper, reproduce, fill the earth, and take charge.
I am made to be a responsible steward of my life.
I am made to be a responsible steward for every living thing on Earth.
God said, “It is good. It is so very good!”
Wow! And what about the cool words found in Psalm 139? Let me give you just a few:
Psalm 139: 13-16 (MsgB)
I am shaped first on the inside, (then) the out.
I am formed in my mother’s womb.
My body and soul is marvelously made.
God knows me inside and out.
God knows every bone in my body.
God knows exactly how I was made; bit by bit.
God knows how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, God watched me grow from conception to birth;
All the stages of my life are spread out before God,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
Maybe. Just maybe, God does have a lot more to say about you and me? And from one homo sapiens to another, I’m feelin’ pretty good about that right about now. How ‘bout you?
My prayer: Father, it would be very easy to allow the world to define me. Even easier to listen to the fleshly voices inside me that believe very little good about me as well. But today, Jesus, I choose to believe what God’s Holy Word tells me about who I really am! Holy Spirit, I receive this good news about my goodness. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What specific lies about my true identity have I bought about myself? Which voices are lying to me about my worth, my value; undermining the truth in God’s Word? Finally, how might I act or feel today if I chose to believe the uplifting words that God has for me instead of believing the lesser truths the world offers about me?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.