Home Service for Palm Sunday 2nd April 2023

Call to Worship

We worship God:

· Who creates us and loves us;
· Who gifts us with diversity and makes us for community;
· Who gives Jesus Christ to show us how to live;
· Who inspires people of all ages to seek justice, share power, and live together in love and equality;
· Who invites us to join the struggle for wholeness and wellbeing for all,
· and whose presence, grace, and love sustain us in our living.

We worship God.

To God be all glory, honour, and praise!

Please read Genesis 2


The second chapter of Genesis is a different creation story, complementing the first. This one focuses not on the grand architecture of the universe, but on the human world. The first man is formed from the dust of the ground: he is of the earth, like everything else. But he’s more than just another mammal; of him alone it’s said that God ‘breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils’ (verse 7). Eve shares in his nature. The Puritan commentator Matthew Henry famously wrote, in words that were rather advanced for his time: ‘The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.’

There are trees in the garden, one giving life and one the knowledge of good and evil. The river that waters Eden divides into four, watering the whole human world of the Israelites who first told the Genesis stories. In other words, what happens in Eden and the choices made there flow out into the lives of everyone. This isn’t just the story of two people; it’s our story too.

We were made by God to live in harmony with him, with each other, and with the beautiful world he made.

Genesis 2.23 could be described as the first piece of love poetry in the Bible. In modern translations it is often set out in short lines to emphasise that it is poetry. And the whole reading is a poetic response to the mystery of creation, humanity’s place within it, and the wonder of the bond between lovers – a bond that can be stronger than any other. Steve Dixon expresses something of this in his poem “A naturalist finds love”

Beloved, I study the beasts of the field
and rejoice in the birds of the air.

Their names are my delight;
their ways illumine my life;
yet their beauty is lightless beside you.

Beloved, when first I saw your face,
I felt I had woken from deepest sleep.
When first I held you, spoke your name,
I felt you were bone of my bones,
and as my own flesh, I love you.

The good God surely willed it so.

I am remade now I am yours:
partners, helpers, clinging close –
our hearts the beat of creation,
our love the hub of the world.

© Steve Dixon, 2017

Suggested Listening

All creatures of our God and King – www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF12LkUS25c

For the Fruits of His Creation – www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YAvyk2IQho

O Lord all the world belongs to you – www.youtube.com/watch?v=T13JYd_oi54

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