21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.
22 As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night,
shall not cease.”
I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
Throughout history, as early as the first days of Creation in the Garden of Eden, God’s promises to humankind have been revealed. We have the advantage of the stories of the Bible and of the history of civilization to learn about promises made in hundreds of circumstances. We are living in a time of quarantine and isolation; not exactly the same as the isolation of Noah and his family, nor the isolation of the Jewish exile in Babylon. But nonetheless, we have been wandering within our spaces, large or small, and wondering when it will end. During the last months, maybe we have felt on occasion a feeling of hopelessness over the uncertainty of the future.
Noah trusted God in his ark of safety; and while our trust is also in God, we may not feel our “arks” are so safe as we hear the almost minute by minute reports of the virus attacking our world. Did Noah feel 100% comfortable, or did he wonder how many days the water would continue to rise? The ark floated on the waters above the mountains for months, and then God remembered Noah and sent winds to dry out the waters and they subsided. Then the ark rested on the mountains. Noah sent out ravens and doves to confirm that the earth was drying, and still he waited. Then God told Noah to take his family and the animals and leave the ark, and to be fruitful and multiply. Noah built an altar to the Lord in thanksgiving.
God said to Noah that He was establishing a covenant with him and every living creature, that there would never again be a flood to destroy the earth. ”I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” While we have a New Covenant in Jesus Christ, we still draw comfort from the sign of that early covenant, as many did recently on a dark day of Covid-19 statistics when a double rainbow appeared in our skies.
We do not have to look far to see signs that God is indeed with us in the person of Jesus Christ. We are surrounded by acts of kindness, generosity of spirit and resources, dimming division, strangers helping strangers, and all the ways Christ instilled in us a hope for the future. Our trust is that God is sending whatever “winds” will open our arks, in order that we might continue our work of transforming the world for Christ.
Father God, you created our world and showed us your mighty works so that we might believe that you are always with us. Help us to see you at work in the opportunities offered to us today to reflect the love of your Son, our Christ, in all that we do. Amen.