Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Story of Scripture: Out of the Flood

The Story of Scripture: Out of the Flood
Chapter 4: the Flood

Genesis 6:5-22, Genesis 9:7-17, Luke 24:1-12

In various religious and cultural literature, there are multiple accounts of a major flood that filled the earth. But today’s story is not about history, rather, its value is as a story about God. What do we learn about God in this story?

The tragedy of the flood
--tragic because of the expansion of wickedness
--Tragic because the Lord was grieved that he had made man, and his heart was
filled with pain.
--tragic that this event God said needed to happen. (6:7, 6:13)
--hopeful and holy in that God will fulfill his purposes for creation.

The Flood is not the end of the story. What comes out of the flood?
Out of the Flood: A new beginning. New life. A new humanity. New respect for human life. A New covenant. A new promise never to leave.

This idea of God declaring in new ways his faithfulness to humankind helps us understand some earlier references in the story of Scripture.
In the Garden of Eden; humans were placed out of the presence of the Lord.
In the story of Cain: he is cast out of the presence of the Lord.
Post-flood, we no longer hear or read of stories of people out of the presence of God. The template for God's patience and dealings with humankind are summed up by the biblical promise:
Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.
Another example, comes to us in Paul's Romans 8 passage, where we are reminded that things like angels, demons, heights and depths do not have the power to separate us from the love of God.

Our stories today focus us on two people: Noah and Peter:
“It is ironic that at the moment of passion and impending death, embodied faith first appears in the world” (Walter Brueggeman, pg. 80). Noah, in a time of extreme darkness, becomes a light that God sees. Peter, when the moments are darkest for the disciples, wonders about the news the women tell him and his fellow disciples.

These two stories tell of a New humanity that emerges out of judged humanity.

Noah: I’m sure he must have wondered as he built his boat.
Peter: he wondered too. Later in his life, he wrote some letters.

Noah in the New Testament: speaks to
Baptism I Peter 3:13-22
Second Coming II Peter 2:4-10, 3:3-15

God’s ultimate expression of never leaving us was through Jesus coming to us, being God in human flesh. And after sacrifice for sin, the new life of Christ.

Resurrection: another type of never again.
In the Resurrection story, we find: new life, new humanity, God’s care for all life, communion as the new cup and bread.

What do you do when the whole world has changed before your eyes?
--you come before God.
--you come to see what was promised.
--a rainbow
--a promise of never again.
--a promise for you and for those around you.
--a promise for those around you and for all creation.

Chaos is not the last word. God has the last word. And what is that word: the power, faithfulness, kindness and grace of the Lord. In the middle of the flood story, we read in 8:1: "And God remembered Noah."
Out of the flood, we find grace and mercy. Praise be to God.

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