In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, and God saw that the light was good.
God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters” and “let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation” and “let there be lights in the sky” and “let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the sky” and “let the land produce living creatures.” And it was so and God saw they were good and blessed them.
Then God said, “Let us make people in our image, in our likeness.” It was so and God blessed them, too.
At the end of the sixth day, God saw all that had been created, and it was very good.
—Excerpted from Genesis 1
I invite you to join me in a meditation on the poem Book of Genesis.
To begin, find a comfortable seat where you will not be disturbed for about 15 minutes. Take a few deep breaths in and out slowly. Allow yourself to settle into the reality that just as certainly as you feel the floor beneath your feet and the chair you are sitting on, God is here, supporting and loving you.
Now click on the link and listen to Pádraig Ó Tuama read the poem Book of Genesis by Kei Miller.
1. Take a few moments to notice:
What rises in you as you hear these words? What’s it like to imagine a “let” meant for you? . . . to hear God speaking you into life: “Let there be (your name)?” What do you feel? Close your eyes and notice.
Can you name what you are feeling right now? Turn your awareness to the felt sensation of those feelings in your body.
2. After a few moments, listen to the poem a second time. Close your eyes again and take a few leisurely minutes to reflect.
Can you imagine a Let meant for all of who you are? Imagine God naming aspects of yourself with a sense of wonder and delight, without a hint of judgment or disapproval. For example, I hear, “Let there be Esther and let her be short and love writing and biking and Fred. Let her love clarity and perfection. Let her be brave and irritating at times. Let her be impatient and thoughtful too.”
What’s it like to feel so known, enjoyed, and accepted?
Do you hear a subtle difference between the words “let” and “make”? God lets me be impatient. God lets me be human.
What feelings emerge now? What would it be like to pronounce a Let for them, to welcome feeling accepted or whole, feeling doubt, or feeling not much of anything?
3. After a few moments, listen to the poem a third time. This time, when you close your eyes, bring to mind someone you know.
Can you imagine them hearing a Let from God? Imagine it spoken, and that person receiving self-acceptance and being liberated into wholeness. Silently, join with God in pronouncing a Let meant for them.
Close your time of prayer by recalling that, in Genesis, God said, “Let” and there was. Something came to life that had not been there before: the sun, the ocean, animals, people.
What has come to life in you now that was not there before? What would you like to say to God about this newborn part of you?
God saw all that had been created, and it was very good.
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I was delighted to find more episodes in Poetry Unbound, the site where I discovered Kei Millier’s poem and got to know Pádraig Ó Tuama. Poetry Unbound is produced by On Being a National Public Radio broadcast that is “Pursuing deep thinking and moral imagination, social courage and joy, to renew inner life, outer life, and life together.”