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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, March 9, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Genesis 8:4, 9:8–17

And in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

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)

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep. That’s how the book of Genesis begins, describing the chaotic formless void of the primordial waters and how God created order out of chaos when God separated land from sea and day from night.

The flood story in chapters eight and nine of Genesis is a kind of re-creation story, in which God reiterates that people are created in the image of God (9:6) and that we humans should “be fruitful and multiply.” In response to the evil that God sees people doing, God is heartbroken—God’s heart is “grieved.”

And so God tries to begin again, recreating the world by allowing the waters to come back together with the land, covering the land, then separating the water from the land again. Time and time again, throughout history and throughout our lives, God gives us the chance to begin again. God washes us and starts anew. God reiterates God’s promises to be with us, to love us, to help us be better and do better, even when we break God’s heart.

In making this promise to us, God hangs up God’s war-bow in the clouds, like hanging it on the wall, out of reach. No more bows and arrows. Now it’s rainbows and remembrance of promises.

God of all creation, help me to hear and believe your promises. Remind me of my covenant with you, and guide me in taking the right, just, and good actions that will make my life fruitful and multiply your grace. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

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