In The Beginning There Was Love

The first Mass readings for yesterday and today were the first creation story in the Book of Genesis. (We heard the account of the first four days of creation yesterday and the last three today.) It is a story we hear proclaimed every year at the Easter Vigil.

I have no desire to wade into debates over whether the creation story is poetry (which many argue it cannot be because it doesn’t follow Hebrew poetic form) or parable or anything else. Whatever its form, I love to hear the story proclaimed.

When I hear this reading, I close my eyes and I feel God’s delight as the world fills with the beauty of the stars, the brilliant light of the sun, and the lushness of forests. I feel God’s love as God looks at all that is created and pronounces it good. And I feel that love especailly a I hear God’s plan to make humans in God’s own image (“after our image, after our likeness”), knowing what it implies about human dignity. And I see God look at the humans God has created and pronounce them “very good.”

What I feel when I hear that reading has nothing to do with what name we give to the account or what category we put it in. And I feel what I feel despite the fact that I don’t for a second believe that God literally created the world in seven days. None of that is really important to what the story conveys to me.

The first creation story, whatever other name we give it, is a love story. It is the story of the God who is love, who creates humans in love and gives them the beauty of the earth.

Have you stopped to enjoy that beauty lately? Have you let yourself recognize it as a sign of God’s love?