Bible/Theology, Environment

Formed from the dust of the ground

August 7, 2020

Jocabed Reina Solano Miselis is a Christian woman from the Gunadule people, brought up on the Guna Yala islands off the coast of Panama. Jocabed told me about the Guna practice of burying the umbilical cord and placenta in the ground when a baby is born. The women cut the cord, wrap it with the placenta and give it to the grandfather who buries it in the mountains, under a cacao tree. Jocabed says, ‘for nine months the umbilical cord and placenta united the baby and the mother. Now the cord ties men and women to the earth. It fertilises the earth from which a plant germinates as a sign of unity and of the hope for future generations.’

We have been created from the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7): we are adam created from the adamah (Hebrew for earth or ground)… earth creatures… dusty ones. As such we have an innate connection with the wider natural world – something many of us experienced when we were in lockdown. The change of rhythm and allowance of a daily walk got us outside and we rediscovered how important nature is to our wellbeing.

As earth creatures, we have been created to image and represent God, like a living statue in the temple of God’s creation. With that we affirm that all people have been made in the image of God. There is radical equality here, which is why poverty and the racial injustice that is being increasingly exposed is an absolute abomination to God.

Equality between all people and humble connection with the wider natural world are deeply embedded in what it means to have been created in God’s image, formed from the dust of the ground.

What do those two aspects bring to mind for you? Is there a response you could make that is being prompted within you?

This blog post was originally published here by St Paul’s Cathedral.

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