Day 2: Genesis 4–6, Psalm 2, Matthew 2 – The Rev. Scott Gunn

Genesis 4–6, Psalm 2, Matthew 2
With today’s readings, things start to go awry in a big way. We encounter the Bible’s first
murder. As people multiply on the face of the earth, their evil deeds increase. But we also
get our first real hero, as Noah follows God’s commandments.
In the New Testament reading, our curtain opens on the scene with the wise men
visiting the child Jesus. The message is clear: this savior is not just for a few people in one
particular nation, but for the whole world. But that same fact represents a threat to the
established order; Herod’s fear runs to epic proportions.
Puzzling out the murder of innocent children is enough to keep a reader up at night. How
could God allow this? Why do the pages of the Bible contain these grim stories? Where
is God in great tragedy? Of course, these questions are not just for the pages of the
Bible. The front page of any newspaper reveals a world of violence, fear, and exploitation.
Where is God in our world?
As we read the Bible, we have an opportunity to step back to see a God whose saving
purposes for humanity are evident over the sweeping range of the biblical story. This
same God gives humanity the freedom to worship, to love God. And God leaves us the
choice to disobey, at great cost to ourselves and to our world.
We do well to read very difficult passages in the context of the wider narrative. This will
not excuse or minimize every terrible act. But we can see a loving God, who at the very
least weeps with us and with all those who suffer. Seeing God at work in the Bible can
help us see God in our world, too.
Do you find the violence of some biblical
stories disturbing? Is this more or less
troubling than violence in a newspaper?
We don’t focus much on the flight into
Egypt and the slaughter of innocents at
Christmastime. How might our image of
Jesus be different if these parts of his life’s
story were more prominent?
God of love, reveal yourself to me even
when it seems that the world has turned
far from you, through Jesus Christ, the
Prince of Peace. Amen.