27th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B Alton Abbey
4 October 2015
Genesis 2: 18-24; Hebrews 2: 9-13; Mark 10: 2-16
I sometimes think that the reason there are two accounts of creation in Genesis is because although each has some good points, neither is entirely satisfactory. For me, the good bit in Genesis 1 is discovering that both boys and girls are made to bear the image of the divine: God created man in the image of himself . . . male and female he created them; while tha...t is not in our reading today, Mark refers to it in the gospel reading we have just heard. And in Genesis 2, which we did hear this morning, there is man’s recognition that woman is not different to him in the way that the cat, dog, sheep, goat, or camel, that he had just named are different for she is identical with himself: ‘bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh’.
That is a lesson that we should extend beyond man in relationship with woman, using the recognition of ‘flesh of my flesh’ as the speculum through which we view all the areas of life in which man is prone to reject the other, the different. Politics, race and physical attributes, class and economic standing, sexual orientation, religion: all these give us opportunities (if we are foolish) to look down on other people as less than ourselves; and when we reject them, we turn our backs on something that we should prize and respect, for when we do so, we reject God’s creative work in the different other, who is, when all is said and done, bone of our bones, and flesh of our flesh.
And that is why the Word of God was ‘for a short while made lower than the angels’ in the flesh of Jesus. For now, when we reject our neighbour and refuse to recognise that he/she is bone and flesh of our bone and flesh, we are rejecting God, who was incarnate in human flesh and born of Mary. But when we accept the other, whoever that other may be as also made in the image of God, also flesh of our flesh and bone of our bones, we are together brought into glory, as the writer to the Hebrews points out, ‘the one who sanctifies, and the ones who are sanctified, are of the same stock, that is why he openly calls them brothers’.