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  • Writer's pictureScott Carr, Jr.

Genesis in the Congregation

The Pentateuch on the whole, and Genesis, in particular, opens the stories of individual believers to the scope of God’s universal creative and recreative activities. Eugene Peterson writes about the pastoral task of story-making:

Having gotten some of the details of my life tied into the clearly narrated ways of salvation history, I no longer have to know the meaning of all the details. If I know that I am part of an existence that has discernible meaning, I don’t have to scrupulously figure out the meaning of each feeling, or gesture, or pain. I don’t have to know, at any given moment, the whole story if I am convinced that there is a story [1].

According to the Pentateuch, that story is God exercising His kingship over His creation and bringing His people into His presence [2]. The Pentateuch serves pastors as the primary text for inviting congregants into life in the presence of God. Genesis specifically provides case studies of men and women living lives in the presence of God. The accounts in Genesis “describe what happened to the good creation under human direction, each one anchored in a particular human response to God” [3]. In pastoral ministry, my goal is to use Genesis to invite congregants into God’s story and walk with them to shape their life in light of God’s presence.

[1] Peterson, Eugene H. Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1996, p. 109.

[2] Leder, Arie C. Waiting for the Land: The Story Line of the Pentateuch. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2010, p. 55.

[3] Ibid. p. 78.

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