In the Lectionary

June 4, Trinity A (Genesis 1:1–2:4a; Psalm 8)

Trusting in God’s transcendence means acknowledging God’s otherness.

The book of Genesis is a wide, sweeping narrative. In it we see the origin of all things, God creating the universe. The origin of a people, God calling Abraham. Genesis concludes with the story of Joseph’s rise to power in Egypt. What man intends for evil God uses for good.

This week’s texts reflect the power of the Divine and its purpose for humankind. Psalm 8 catalogs God’s creative power and the relationship God desires with humans. The creation story in Genesis explores the meaning of the created order—and introduces the transcendent nature of God.

Transcendence is a theological term, a 25-cent word that simply means the existence beyond what is perceived as normal or human. God is other, and this idea of transcendence is a major theme in our Genesis text. The Divine is different from us humans. God says, “Let there be light,” and there is light—God’s word is creative action. God has the ability to produce light, life, land, and sea with nothing but word. My words do not make things happen—I tell my kids to pick up their socks, and nothing happens. I am a limited human being.