Who of us likes to start over? Noah, his sons, daughters-in-law, and the creatures of the earth start over with God on behalf of all creation. Imagine the angst and fear that might have surrounded them as they began a new life in a totally different manner. I often wonder whether they were angry at God or resentful after all they had been through. Nevertheless, God calls Noah and his family to trust that God will never again destroy the earth by water.
Some of us have experienced loss like Noah, losing almost every material possession. God asks us to trust in God’s goodness. We may find it nearly impossible to trust that God will see us through, but through such loss and through beginning again we may experience a metanoia (a change of heart) or a new birth in our relationship with God.
Beginning again makes us vulnerable to God as we trust one more time that God will act in our favor. God establishes a covenant with Noah that extends to all of humanity and creation: God will never again destroy the earth by water. God’s covenant includes a reminder both for God and for us of the promise that God has humanity and creation’s best interest at heart. Throughout Lent, when we look toward the new beginning that comes on Easter morning, we remember all of God’s promises. Even in the vulnerability of loss and new beginnings, we can know that God will remember the covenant God established for us with Noah—a promise to protect us and be with us through new beginnings.
Eternal God, remember your covenant when we are in the vulnerability of new beginnings, and help us remember to trust that you forever have our best interests at heart. Amen.
The season of Lent is now upon us, a time of inward examination that begins on Ash Wednesday. We search ourselves and ask God to search us, so that we can follow God more completely. This examination, however, can become a cause for despair if we do not approach it with God’s everlasting mercy and faithfulness in mind. Although the Flood was a result of judgment, God also saved the faithful and established a covenant with them. The psalmist seeks to learn God’s ways, all the while realizing that he has fallen short and must rely on God’s grace. For Christians, baptism functions as a symbol of salvation and a reminder of God’s covenant faithfulness—not because the water is holy but because God is holy and merciful.
• Read Genesis 9:8-17. When in loss have you experienced a new beginning?
• Read Psalm 25:1-10. How do you remind yourself of your covenant with God?
• Read 1 Peter 3:18-22. When have you given up privilege in order to work for justice?
• Read Mark 1:9-15. When did you last hear God speak these words to you: "You are my . . . beloved; with you I am well pleased"?
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