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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Scripture Reading: Genesis 9:1–17
God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.

    Whoever sheds the blood of a human,
        by a human shall that person’s blood be shed;
    for in his own image
        God made humankind.

And you, be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it.”

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.” (NRSV)

One day when I was working in Korea, I was out with a young student playing with sidewalk chalk when a rain storm came up. I figured my student would be upset to go outside after the storm and see all his hard work had been washed away. Instead he was delighted to have a fresh slate; all his mistakes had been washed away. Now that he realized he could wash away mistakes, he used a bucket of water every time he messed up. He became obsessed with perfection. I wanted to tell him that there was beauty in his art “flaws.” He was not convinced.

Thankfully God doesn’t have the same obsession with perfection. God makes a promise with Noah and will all of creation, at that time and forever, that he will never again wash away creation for their sins. God gives us the sign of the bow in the cloud. Some interpret the rainbow like a bow and arrow without the arrow or string to make it a weapon—God acknowledging God’s strength and power and choosing not to put it to use. The best part of the promise is there are not conditions or stipulations. God takes the burden entirely upon himself. No matter how far we as God’s creation fall, there is always hope and grace for us. In this covenant God places a high regard for human life, protecting the sanctity of creation despite its imperfections, and God will not let it be destroyed.

God, thank you for your grace, mercy, and restraint. I know that you have the power to create a prefect creation, but instead you choose to love your creation, flaws and all. Amen.

Written by Katie Patterson, Junior High Youth and Mission Coordinator

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