(New Interpreter’s Study Bible Version)
“1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light” ; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning the first day. 6 And God said “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters.” 7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8 God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 9 And God said “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw it was good.”
A Bible Story
In Genesis 1, we witness God forming, shaping, naming, and creating. God makes the distinction between land, water, vegetation, and bore fruits (1:9-13). There is beautiful creation of the moon, sun, stars, and seasons (1:14-19). God further creates sea creatures and birds, blesses them to multiply (1:20-23). Lastly, there is creation of more wild animals, animals to live on land and humankind (1:24-31). The creation story is a story that some might consider a rudimentary introduction of the book; however, this story is oftentimes used to serve as evidence that God is real and visible in nature. This passage and process of God’s creation shares insight to the creation metanarrative of The Good Neighbor Movement (TGNM).
TGNM: A New Creation
As a new facilitator of the downtown city village, I have sensed the new creation in TGNM. I have spent time learning about this community and the church's history, understanding that it is still relatively a new thing. In working alongside facilitators and meeting members of the church, I can boldly testify and say that I vividly see new creation happening. In scripture, as the book of Genesis grows verse by verse and chapter by chapter, we witness God furthering a vision in creation each day. While reading, we gather that God’s artful and careful crafting is not simple or meaningless work but the creator’s work points to cosmic and revolutionary changes as the world, animals, moon and stars are created out of nothing. Similar to God’s new creation, TGNM points to cosmic and revolutionary changes as we collide, achieve, and face adversity. In scripture there are creation acts done each day (of the 6), which mark the beginning pure stages of becoming. It is our mission as believers to try and read this passage with anticipation and wonder. This is our mission as we, The Good Neighbor Movement, watch God decide what is our story, and what is to be newly created.
As a new thing, created and formed by God, we are excited to see that TGNM is the beginning volume of a story to be continued. Similar to the book of Genesis within the Bible, our creation story has and will play within the larger canon of TGNM story. TGNM can certainly say our story has not been authored by one source, but includes multiple people who have joined the movement: persons who are facilitators, children, and laypersons. Just as Genesis makes claims about God, God’s relationship with the world and with the overall human race, in this Genesis (new creation) stage, TGNM can contemplate what ways God desires we serve through mission and covenant. In this Genesis stage, what ways are we looking to be in relationship with this world? What ways are we in relationship with people who acknowledge and chose God? In this Genesis stage, what ways are we in relationship with those who do not proclaim a faith tradition? I pray that the GNM can open our eyes to what is happening around us. I pray that this new creation sees the beauty, carefulness, and the wonder in what God is doing for us. I pray that we, TGNM, can see God visibly not just in this community, but in the world and know that it is good.