A Reading from Genesis
Might there be a brave soul who would play the role of Adam?
Animals that are found in fields?
Birds that are found in the air?
Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them;
(animals/birds go over to Adam)
and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field;
(Adam names the animals)
but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.
(Adam looks a bit lonely)
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, (God as anesthesiologist)
and Adam slept;
then God took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
(God as surgeon)
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
(Eve enters the scene)
Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken." Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
(That means Adam and Eve are really quite happy)
As you find your seats, let's thank our amazing volunteer drama department.
This story gets pulled out and used as an argument for or against who can marry whom all the stinkin time. And we actually aren't going to drive down that road today.
If we did, we would also have to talk about how much of the Bible also assumes, that a man may have several wives, that he may take concubines, and that if his wife fails to provide him a child he may seek out another woman with whom to bear children. Any number of the Bible's "heroes of the faith" – including Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon, to name just a few – fall into this category. (Thank you, David Lose)
I'm not really interested in picking that all apart today.
What I am interested in is what God is doing in this funny and beautiful story. It's funny because God seems a bit clueless...
God recognizes that Adam is lonely (yes!)
And so God creates all these creatures to keep Adam company. And one by one, God brings them to Adam...
Is THIS what you are looking for?
Hmmmm....how about a dog?
Duck billed platypus?
Adam says, “Almost...”
And then God creates Eve—a companion. Don't get hung up on Eve being a lowly “helper.” All the feminists shake your fists! It's not, “Adam's little helper”. This is match.com. This is equal. This is partnership.
God recognizes our loneliness—our deepest longing and gives us one another.
Perhaps this is has something to say to Humble Walk today. This community was formed four years ago...God took a rib out of the established Lutheran church and said...
“Here. This might be what you are looking for. You all need this.” And the Holy Spirit just kept gathering us in and sending us out.
And God saw that it was good. Very good. People found a place. All ages found a voice. Loaf after loaf after loaf of bread was broken and cup after cup after cup of wine was poured. Baptismal waters were sprinkled liberally. Words of healing and forgiveness and life came. There was singing, occasional spontaneous dancing and two years worth of weekly potlucks. We made new friends, we took risks, people followed us from all corners of this earth. There was a good amount of laughter. Belly laughs. Waffles. Copious cups of coffee. And such generosity with time and money that it broke our hearts wide open. We prayed. It was all wrapped with tremendous amounts of love.
But then...this community was broken, too. We had to say painful goodbyes to some of our beloved...when they moved out of the area. Others left because were grumpy and stomped off in a huff because of things we did or said or because we were just simply annoying them. Some quietly slipped away and we didn't even get to say goodbye. A few people and marriages were split right into two parts. There have been tears, lots of tears. And pain. Sometimes, the kids annoyed the adults. Sometimes the adults annoyed the kids. Often, the teens looked around and thought, “What on earth am I doing with these weird people??”
Through it all, God remained. Jesus kept loving and forgiving and knocking us down and building us back up.
And that was just the first four years.
What might the next four hold for us?
(Then we wrote all spent time filling in a huge timeline of past events. We put ourselves on that timeline—our names and pictures of when we first entered into the community of Humble Walk. Some were at the very first event—some arrived on Sunday for the first time.) When we were done, I asked people what they noticed. “We have done a lot of stuff. And not everything repeats. There is new stuff. And new people. We have also moved a lot (5 times in four years).
Maybe we be continually knocked down and built back up in Christ.
After worship, we gathered for a birthday party potluck. Our party planning committee (one five-year- old, one eight-year-old, two nine-year-olds and one patient dad) busted out streamers, balloons, handmade decorations and two cakes. It was a good day.