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Beginning Words


Once there was a tree
in the middle of a garden

It’s fruit rich in colour
and sweet to the taste

no one had ever eaten of it

and there it hung

until one day
in a moment of daring
like a child on the edge of adulthood
it was picked
and tasted

and everything changed

Let us gather round
the tree of life
and worship the one
whose garden it is



Contemporary Reading

There are many names for God

Some we can pronounce

Others we can’t

Some, once written are not allowed to be erased

other’s we simply whisper in sacred spaces

The Bible begins with the name Elokim for God. God as a force of nature. The word ‘El’ means God and it is attached to some aspect: the sun, the moon, the waters so God is ‘The power of the sun’, ‘the force of the river’. But the name Elokim is slightly bigger. It suggests ‘the force of all forces’. Elokim is the one who created all of them. So the first name used of God is a word that describes force and creativity.

The second name is Hashem, and refers to God not as a power, but as a person. It literally means, ‘The Name’ and once you have a name you can speak to God and God speaks back. Hashem is God in relationship.

Now, Genesis One speaks of God as Elokim: force, power, creation.

Genesis Two and Three speak of God as Elokim-Hashem, both names together. During the troubled time of trees of knowledge, forbidden fruit and the eating of that fruit, God is described as Elokim-Hashem.

But in Chapter 4, God is referred to only as Hashem, ‘The Name’, God in relationship.

Before the fruit was eaten, God was simply a force.

But after it, God is in relationship.

Only when the first two people related to each other through their differences, their uniquenesses, by their names: Adam & Eve, did they recognise God as a relationship too.

No longer something at a distance, a force, Elokim

But now intimate and close, in conversation with, Hashem


Forbidden Fruit

                          Genesis 3:1-24




Loving God
breath that gives life
imagination that dreams futures
love that begets us all

may we have ears to hear
the deep down love
that always renews
that is woven into
and recreates a world
each day
with a new song in the morning
and a different shade of sunset every evening

and in such wonder and mystery
may we speak with honesty
and acknowledge with humility
we are often confused
between beauty and pain
between wonder and conflict
between the poetry we use to describe creation
and the reality of a world that is hurt and rebellious

And in the middle of that
we find ourselves
with our questions
and confusions

Why, O God,
such harm in the world
Why, O God,
the fear we know
Why, O God,
the pain and the worry and the conflict

Such bitter tasting fruit

we have tasted
we have eaten
our innocence has died
so may we
O God
with the love we trust
be part of this world
and live in the transformation of it
dare to speak of hope
reveal the values that love the world again
repopulate the world with morals that build community again

Yes the fruit is tasted
and our eyes are now open

May we live the faith
trust the grace
share the compassion
and moves us all
from being lost
towards being your community again

So be it



In the thinness that is this place, O God
and the love which holds it together
and in the word that shapes mysteries
beyond what we understand
may we unfold the messiness of our lives
and trust it is all held
in a greater love

May we have eyes that can see
where the sacred lies
in the stoor of the world,
the invitation to new living
in the fruit from the eden tree,
the renaming of who we are
in wrestling with angels,
revealed grace
in the breaking of bread,
the stories of Emmaus encounters
in the noisy crumbs of bread,
the promise of milk and honey
in the wildness years,
the universal, borderless love
proclaimed from the belly of a whale,
such messy holiness
may we have eyes to see it

and see it here
at table
among these people
in this story
of saviour and friends
deniers and betrayers
hesitants and doubters
that we find ourselves among them
no different
except our names
and hear your word for us
a messy word
called love
called grace
called Jesus

In the thinness of this place
we gather in a love
that calls us
and shows itself
in the chaos of salvation
and the scattering of crumbs

So be it


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