“Created in God’s Image” (Part 2) – “Flesh of My Flesh” by the Revd Neil Patterson
It may seem odd that I should turn to part of the passage which for many Christians is foundational to their understanding of God’s plan to create men and women as complementary and different, much less that I should cite it as a source of support in difficult times. Without going into the subtleties of the Hebrew around gender in this and preceding verses, though, you can see that the sentiment of the verse is universal.
God recognises that the creature he has made is formed for company, for partnership, and that he needs to provide. I spent several years living with the reality that it was not good to be alone, and with the fear that my ongoing singleness was making me a more selfish and insular person.
But I trusted that God knew that, and had a plan.
The allied verse is the man’s response to meeting the partner God has provided. If you are gay, the words have even greater power, because the person you meet is crucially the same (gender) and the same (sexuality) – truly and wonderfully a match.
And when I met David, as well as all that, I found that God had enabled me to meet someone who shared a great range of my eccentric interests. And like so many people falling in love, we began a never-ending conversation about all the things that are central to our lives.
I shared this thought about Genesis 2 with the triplet of others in the Shared Conversations that happened at General Synod in 2016, and although I don’t think I changed his mind on the wider issue, the more conservative of my two interlocutors took in that this really was what the text meant to me. ‘Hmm, that’s new learning’ is the response I remember.
Long may we all look for new learning together in the Scriptures.
Lord God who made us for companionship with others and with you, strengthen our trust in your plans for us and help us to be open to love with integrity at all times, through Jesus Christ our Lord.