Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Day Two- Thursday, February 26
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’
Genesis 9:8-17 is one of the lectionary passages for the first Sunday in Lent this year and a covenant theme is a very good place to start! Reading about how God promises never again that unruly waters destroy the world and its inhabitants reminds us that many ancient creation stories include some sort of flood story. Starting out afresh, beginning again, a sign (in this case, a rainbow) that serves as a reminder all seem like things we can understand here at the outset of Lent.
Many people make promises in Lent, to add a good practice or eliminate one that is less than helpful. Signs and symbols abound in Lent: ashes, the color purple, a crown of thorns. Perhaps the most compelling part of this passage is the new and different thing that God is doing, by binding to humanity (and to the whole earth!) as a protector. With it comes a surrender of divine power, which is pretty remarkable, and with that comes our reflection for the day.
If God has made a promise to protect and preserve the earth and its creatures, could we not also think about the world and all that dwells therein as precious and inherently worthwhile? How could we live that out? Could a rainbow be a sign of promise to you, this year in Lent?
God of unchangeable power, when you fashioned the world the morning starts sang together and the host of heaven shouted for joy; open our eyes to the wonders of creation and teach us to use all things for good, to the honour of your glorious name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. (The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.)