“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said…and, indeed, it was very good.” Genesis 1

The first chapter of Genesis paints for us the beautiful picture of the triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - creating the heavens and the earth and all that they contain - the light and the dark; the sky and the dry land; all kinds of plants and vegetation; the sun and the moon and the stars; creatures in the water and birds of the air and animals on land (even those creepy, crawly things!).

And finally, finally, we hear of God creating the last thing needed for creation to be complete: humankind (people!). Multiple times we hear that God created people in God’s own image and gave us the responsibility to participate with God in ruling over all creation. And God blessed humankind. From the beginning, God established a unique and loving relationship with all people.

God, indeed, created a vast and diverse environment in which all life could thrive. God loves diversity - even among people!

Such is God’s vision for the world - a vision of shalom - wholeness and completeness and abundance and peace for all - of harmony between God and all that God created.

Too bad that, as humans, we mess it up. 

Take, for instance, this idea that we are created in God’s image: “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27). Note the inclusiveness of this verse: the only difference noted between people created in God’s image is gender. Today we recognize that even gender is fluid and more diverse than we once thought.

When we  truly believe that all people are created in God’s image, we can see the social construct of “disability” for what it is - a barrier to developing real and meaningful relationships among and between people who are different than we are (oh, and, let’s face it - we are all different from each other in many ways!) - people who are uniquely made by God in their own way. It is a barrier that can prevent us from knowing the hopes and dreams and gifts and challenges and joys of another person. 

Something is missing - the community is incomplete - when meaningful relationships are blocked and people are excluded.

The creation story reminds us to embrace diversity and accept others as they are - people created in the image of God.