The days that unfold in the Book of Genesis we’re reading this week get ever more complex. First, there’s God, then light and water paving the way for a host of new things, non-living and living. Finally, we humans enter the picture. A complex, changing world it is, day by day.
Jessica Powers, a Carmelite nun and poet, wrote about our experience of that world– “Song At Daybreak”
This morning on the way
that yawns with light across the eastern sky
and lifts its bright arms high –
It may bring hours disconsolate or gay,
I do not know, but this much I can say:
It will be unlike any other day.
God lives in his surprise and variation.
No leaf is matched, no star is shaped to star.
No soul is like my soul in all creation
though I may search afar.
There is something -anquish or elation-
that is peculiar to this day alone.
I rise from sleep and say: Hail to the morning!
Come down to me, my beautiful unknown.
“My Beautiful unknown”. Our world is beautiful, but unknown, surprising, with variations that bring “anguish or elation.” Religious people should acknowledge this, since they believe in a surprising God, but unfortunately we can make God too small. We “think like humans do.” We only think so far.
Pope Francis is taking some flack for a statement on religious freedom he made jointly with the Grand Iman of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi last week: “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.”
“Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.”
“Religious indifferentism” some say, but is it just acknowledging the world the Book of Genesis describes? Our common home is complex, “willed by God in His wisdom.”
The Genesis account and the rest of the Bible deserve a search for their wisdom. I know there’s a new story that science tells, but Genesis and the Bible were there first.They have a story too.