Speaking to the Soul: Flesh of my Flesh

Week of 1 Epiphany, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 1, 2, 3 (morning) // 4, 7 (evening)

Genesis 2:4-9(10-15)16-25

Hebrews 1:1-14

John 1:1-18

Today’s first reading tells the story of God creating the earth, the heavens, and the first human being. Then, God goes on to attempt to create a partner for that person. “It isn’t good that the human being should be alone,” says God. The human person needs help and companionship in order to be complete. So God makes a series of animals, none of which fit the bill.

Then comes God’s stroke of genius: to make a helper and partner from the very side of this human being. They immediately recognize each other as full, flesh-and-bone human beings: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” They see in each other’s differences the complements to their own humanity, which needs help and companionship to fulfill its purpose.

Sometimes, the Garden-of-Eden encounter between Adam and Eve sounds like a story of love at first sight between the world’s perfect match. (Or, the world’s ONLY match.) But really, it’s the story about the first children of God, who saw in each other a different but full human being, and who formed a partnership they needed to survive in this world. And we, their distant children, are still learning, with Christ’s help, how to enter God’s kingdom by recognizing the full humanity of all people.

It isn’t good to be alone. We need help. We need to know, like the first human beings, that the creatures who differ from us are part of us, and belong to us, and can never be severed from us without sin and pain.

It isn’t good to be alone. And so God made us from each other and for each other. The kingdom breaks into our lives in those moments of recognition when we see those who differ from us as fully human, as bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. As created by God to form loving partnerships, to enrich our lives by their differences, and to receive the gifts that God has prepared for them.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with education, young adult ministry, and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Past Posts