A discussion at Jan Nunley's blog was still rattling around in my head as I prepared to preach on Genesis 1:20-2:4a. One verse jumped out at me, "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." In a patriarchal society, what a wonder it must have been - and still is - to hear this affirmation that not only men but women are created in God's image. One verse of Psalm 8, the psalm appointed in the lectionary, makes a similar subversive affirmation, "Out of the mouths of infants and children your majesty is praised above the heavens." Children and infants, persons with almost no standing in Israel, are graced with the opportunity to praise God.
These verses, like so many others in Scripture, are subversive, acting to erode the societal conventions that subordinate women to men and children to adults. God's people often - maybe even usually - resist that subversion, preferring to conform to the world's standards, the world's patterns of domination and oppression. God, however, is not content to leave us in our resistance. God speaks to us through these subversive texts, calling us to a life free from the world's oppressive systems.