God saw everything that God had made, and it was very good.
“Genesis is a beginning for the world, for Israel, and for us,” writes Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann. “It is unqualified good news.”
That is quite a statement, considering the trials and tribulations that unfold in its fifty chapters. Over and over, people (Jacob, Joseph) are unfaithfu lto God and to each other. They lie, cheat, and trick each other (Abraham, Laban, Jacob). They build obscenely large structures to wall themselves in, and keep others out (Towerof Babel).
Yet, in the end, Joseph exemplifies his “original goodness” with some of the most healing words in Scripture: "You intended it to harm me, but God intended it for good."
Naomi Rosenblatt writes, "There are two powerful and interdependent calls that resound throughout Genesis: 'Go forth'and 'Fear not.' If we take away nothing from our reading of Genesis but these two directives, our lives will be emboldened and enriched.”
Thus, the ringing conclusion of her book Wrestling with Angels is:
Go forth. Go forth into life. Go forth on your journey and discover your personal destiny, your life’s destination. …
Fear not. Go forth into life and fear not its vagaries, its struggles. Fear not the doubt that besieges all faith. Fear not the unknown.
Go forth and fear not. But how? By always reminding ourselves that we are created in God’s image, that we are endowed with intellect and free will, compassion and responsibility, conscience, and creativity. That what we do matters. That our life, and all life, is infinitely precious.
Go forth and fear not.
Thanks be to God, Creator and Redeemer of this good earth. May God fill us with hope and send us forth, without fear, to do the work God has given us to do. Amen.
Copyright © 2010 Margaret Jones.