This week is the beginning of the Narrative Lectionary – the cycle that we use to source our weekly readings. As is usual, the Narrative begins in the Old Testament and remains there as we move towards Christmas Day. Our focus gospel for this year – that will finish on Pentecost Sunday 2023 – is Matthew and we will start exploring that gospel in detail from the first Sunday after Christmas.
We begin our journey through the Old Testament with the story of Noah and the Flood and the covenant that God makes with all of creation. We’ll spend time with the colours of the covenant and then explore what living into the covenant might mean before we head into the time of Advent and our exploring the generations that lead us to the coming of Jesus.
I am constantly amazed – although I probably shouldn’t be – at the connections and directions that come around our worship and study of the bible. That we should have just finished our exploring of our covenant of community (although we do need to do some more work on this) and then to move into exploring the covenant that God makes with us was not planned but just the way it happened. This only reassures me that God is never very far away from planning and guiding us to what we need to hear. Hopefully the exploring we’ve done over the last few weeks will stand us in good stead for the exploring we are about to undertake.
It's been 4 years since we’ve looked at this passage from Genesis, and we will be looking a little more broadly than we did last time.
As I read and prepare for Sunday, I am reminded that this story of flood and promise is not really the children’s story that we all like to remember. There are some pretty hard concepts here along with the destruction of humans and creatures – all of whom God has previously declared good. What is it about the world that causes God’s heart to break and the need to restart again? What is it that causes God to make the commitment to never again cause the waters to destroy all flesh? This covenant that God makes between Godself and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth, is made by God, there is no bargaining with creation. This is a commitment of God, it is the first but not the last, fortunately.