Genesis: The Beginning

In chapter 3, we noted some of the semicontinuous series possibilities in the RCL, especially during Ordinary Time for the First Readings. For example, during Year A there is a series that takes one semicontinuously – and thus quickly – from Genesis through Judges in 26 weeks, with the first 13 weeks focused on Genesis. This seems like a lot of time to focus on Genesis, until one looks at the details. First, after Genesis 1:1-2:4 on Holy Trinity Sunday, this series skips most of the prehistory in Genesis 1-11, with the story of Noah told briefly on Proper 4, Lectionary 9. Second, since Genesis is the focus of the beginning of Ordinary Time, some of the first readings of this series will not appear in some cycles. For example, in 2011 Easter fell late in the season, and thus the lectionary skips four weeks of this series, moving from Genesis 1:2-2:4 on Trinity Sunday to Genesis 22 the following Sunday. As we noted in chapter 2, the prehistory is an important foundational section of Scripture. As with Revelation, it is important to preach and teach these narratives, because other people in our culture are more than willing to (mis)interpret them for our congregations.

For the summer of 2011, I developed two sermon series, one that moves semicontinuously through the prehistory of Genesis 1-11, and then one that tells the story of Jacob from birth through his return to Canaan. Jacob’s story is covered in Year A, but the readings are too short and scattered to tell the story well. It is not possible to tell the whole story of Genesis in a summer series, so I decided to focus on those two story lines. For the fall of 2011, we may continue with the story of Joseph, and then move into Exodus. Here is how I organized the series:

Genesis: The Beginning
June 19, 2011                     Genesis 1:1-2:4                 Creation
June 26, 2011                     Genesis 2:4-25                  Creation 2.0
July 3, 2011                         Genesis 3:1-24                  Disobedience in the Garden
July 10, 2011                       Genesis 4:1-26                  Cain and Abel: The Birth of Violence
July 17, 2011                       Genesis 6:1-22, 8:15-9:17              Noah: The Cost of Violence
July 24, 2011                       Genesis 11:1-9                  Babel: The Scattering of Humanity

Jacob the God Wrestler
July 31, 2011                       Genesis 25:19-34, 27:1-45             Sibling Rivalry
August 7, 2011                   Genesis 27-:46-28:22                      Jacob’s Ladder
August 14, 2011                Genesis 29:1-30                               Rachel and Leah
August 21, 2011                Genesis 32:1-31, 33:1-11               Wrestling with God