An Advent Journey, 2013: Looking for the Light – Day Three

 

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     God blessed Noah and his sons: He said, “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill the Earth! Every living creature—birds, animals, fish—will fall under your spell and be afraid of you. You’re responsible for them. All living creatures are yours for food; just as I gave you the plants, now I give you everything else. Except for meat with its lifeblood still in it—don’t eat that.

     “But your own lifeblood I will avenge; I will avenge it against both animals and other humans.

    Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans let his blood be shed,
Because God made humans in his image
reflecting God’s very nature.
You’re here to bear fruit, reproduce,
lavish life on the Earth, live bountifully!”

     Then God spoke to Noah and his sons: “I’m setting up my covenant with you including your children who will come after you, along with everything alive around you—birds, farm animals, wild animals—that came out of the ship with you. I’m setting up my covenant with you that never again will everything living be destroyed by floodwaters; no, never again will a flood destroy the Earth.”

     God continued, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth.”

     And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I’ve set up between me and everything living on the Earth.”

Genesis 9:1-17  -The Message

God begins making promises to us right here in this narrative. We are part of the ‘everything living after you’ — all of us, men and women, old people and children, even the animals are part of this promise, this covenant agreement to never again destroy the whole earth.

I find the story of Noah to be one of the strangest and scariest in all of scripture. It’s within the first eleven chapters of Genesis, what scholars call the pre-history — richly detailed stories handed down from generation to generation, all of them stories about beginnings. Here, in the middle of this collection of ancient tales, we find evidence of God’s care for creation. So very different from the old stories of surrounding cultures, where the gods are either vindictive or petty and care little about human beings. No. The God who chose to reveal divine truth to the people who became the Hebrews is telling us something important here, something real.

Much like yesterday’s psalm, this end of the story of Noah tells us that God is on our side, that God will not forget us, that God binds us together — the divine and the human — in an unbreakable bond. That beautiful bow in the sky is a sign and a seal on that union. 

Can we look for rainbows between now and Christmas? Real ones, up in the sky, if we’re so blessed by the weather. But also small bits of color, vibrancy amid the darkness, beauty in the ashes. Because, whether we’re entirely comfortable with it or not, the Noah story is a terrible story, one that should probably never be told to children. There is death and destruction on a grand scale, all at the hands of God. 

But . . .

There is also the rainbow, the sign of the promise. That first big promise of good and life-giving things to come, from a God who is mysterious and unsearchable, yet who longs to be in communion with us — human creatures who are slow-witted and prone to destruction.

Us. 

Let’s look for reminders as we look for the light, shall we?

Unsearchable God, we do not begin to understand all of the ways in which you work in this world. But this much we know — you are a promise-making and a promise-keeping God, a God who longs for us to live and flourish in relationship with you. Thank you.

* As an added Advent bonus, I heartily recommend you click on this link and meander over to SheLoves fine post on Random Acts of Advent Kindness. I’m going to try and do this as often as possible and I encourage you all to check it out for yourselves.

 

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Comments

  1. His light
    around us
    surrounds us
    may our eyes, and ears receive it

  2. Keeping my eyes open to color amidst the darkness.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  3. That’s what it’s been like these last four days–fleeting rainbows after years of rain.

    • Oh, sweetheart! I know it has. And I am so very sorry. Sometimes just a flash of color can keep us going for an amazingly long time, you know?

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