“The truth sent from above” is an English folk carol of unknown authorship usually performed at Christmas. Collected in the early part of the 20th century by English folk song collectors in Shropshire and Herefordshire, a number of variations on the tune exist, but the text remains broadly similar. You can hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74eprFw93vY
1. This is the truth sent from above, The truth of God, the God of love; Therefore don’t turn me from your door, But hearken all, both rich and poor.
2. The first thing, which I do relate, That God at first did man create The next thing, which to you I tell, Woman was made with him to dwell.
3. Then after this, ‘twas God’s own choice To place them both in Paradise, There to remain from evil free Except they ate of such a tree.
4. But they did eat, which was a sin, And thus their ruin did begin; Ruined themselves, both you and me, And all of their posterity.
5. Thus we were heirs to endless woes, Till God the Lord did interpose For so a promise soon did run That He’d redeem us with a Son.
6. And at this season of the year Our blest Redeemer did appear He here did live, and here did preach, And many thousands He did teach.
from Genesis 2
Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being…..The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’ Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’….
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.
We are invited through; “the truth sent from above folk carol” and the reading from Genesis 2 to see the intention of God to create people of his heart, to populate the earth so that God’s purposes can be felt and lived. This is an intimate God. The carol lays out God’s plan for the reconciliation of creation and humanity, after the waywardness of Adam and Eve. Genesis 2 shows us God making Adam and Eve; both are breathed into life for the purpose of communication and community. We also see reconciliation in the birth, life and sacrifice of Jesus, the baby, the man, the Saviour; showing God in a new and vibrant way; God comes himself; revealing love and commitment to everything. From the very beginning of the universe God; Creator, Son and Spirit worked as a community of love and creativity; making their imaginations and designs live in the rich diversity of multiple environments and unique humanity. We cannot comprehend how God could achieve this, but the truth of it is all around us. We are truly amazed, God!
We are all connected; Adam. Eve, Jesus; the incarnation of God; and each of us! Jesus, present from the beginning of the world, connecting every atom together, so that salvation was a power released for creation and humanity to reconcile and draw us back to the intimacy God wants with us. This is a gift which is given to us, each and every day; and yet we are always free to reject this perfect plan. But God never gives up on us. Praise God! for his incredible love! We are breathless at the idea; as we see the immensity of God’s passion for our reconciliation through Jesus.
On the eve of a New Year, it is good to receive fresh confirmation that God is working, actively, to restore and renew humanity, created to release the most incredible love; and to relate God’s reconciling plan; through the birth of Jesus Christ.
On New Year’s Eve, patient God, call us into 2023 with the knowledge of your intention to continue to lavish love on us, so that we are able to love people, as you love us. May we realise that Jesus lay down his life to create a new reality – Eternal life, and a blessed life in God’s presence, every day of this year, and all the years to come. Amen
The Rev’d Sue Chapman, Hove and Portslade Pastorate, East Sussex