September 22, 2013
Purpose: To have trust in the promises of God
Bible Lesson: Genesis 9:8-17 (Background Genesis 6:9–9:28)
Key Verse (Genesis 9:11) “I will set up my covenant with you so that never again will all life be cut off by floodwaters. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.”
By Rev. Dr. John Brantley
God defines God’s terms for relationship for creation. There is not a time when God asks the bird or the large animals what they want or like. There is not a time when God asks Noah, his wife and their children to talk over options of what is manageable or acceptable for being in relationship with God. It’s not about compromise nor negotiation. God’s covenant is a declaration. As in the act of creating and order our of chaos, God clarifies the expectation for both the creation as well as the creator.
While our neighbors in Colorado and other parts of the world might wonder about this promise, God assure that flood will never totally wipe us out of existence. The covenant says much more about God than explains how we are to act. Our part, is to know that God is not going to through us out with the bath water. On a technical side, if all the ice melted and all the clouds emptied the skies, there would not be enough water to cover the entire earth. So here the confidence this covenant brings: Don’t worry, God will save us.
Covenants Have Boundaries
God’s language is more than contractual because the terms are basically one-sided. Picture God’s heavenly paralegals drafting up documents to be presented to the parties of creation. They have a long table with Noah, his wife and children and a long line of creatures and plants on one side and God unrolling scrolls on the table. Here is the deal: The boundaries include every living thing and every future generation. I’m going to be here to save you.
Noah and his family represent a couple of generations and collection of animals that fit on an ark. (a boat of gopher wood that's 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high!) That’s big a boat, but it is just one boat with one generation of creatures. God is talking about boundaries beyond Noah’s experience.
We appreciate those who had vision generations about to build the places we worship and missions we serve. We look at their dreams come into being every time we gather at church. God gives an everlasting sign through the architecture and mechanics of water, light and our eyes. The bow is a bending of light around the curve of raindrops and that separates the colors that our eyes perceive.
As long as there is water, we will have reminded of God’s unending grace and promise to bend God’s plan and reflect the colors of all creation instead of leaving us in the dark.
Covenants Need Reminders
Through the rainbow God reminds you, all-creation, God AND me that there is an eternal promise to save us on the line. There are national days of remembering of September 11th and December 7th that are memorialized to remind to hope that never again would be caught off guard. And yet, we are not always prepared to deal with life and death.
The reminder is two fold. First, it keeps in our minds that God wants us around and wants us to be in relationship together. Secondly, it reminds God that God’s word and promises are to be trusted as everlastingly dependable. Look for rainbow and know God is with us.
Faith in Action
Easy – Explain how a rainbow works and create one in the backyard with a garden hose. Show your neighbor how God has a reminder built into creation of God’s promise to save us.
Challenge – Seek out someone who has lost sight of God’s promise due to illness, grief, disappointment, poor choices, fear or apathy and become the rainbow and bend God’s light back into their hearts and perspective.
Hymn: Who Put the Colors in the Rainbow, Some Where Over the Rainbow, In the Cross of Christ I Glory
Prayer: God who remembers and reminds, bend your light into my eyes and soul that I might rejoice in your unwavering love and grace. Save us with your flood of mercy. Amen.