By Ellen LaCroix
The Children’s Choir presents 100% Chance of Rain, a story about Noah and the flood on Sunday, May 10 during the 10:30 worship service.
Noah’s Ark is a staple in Christianity. One of the reasons it is so popular is that it is easy to imagine. There are many things in the Bible that are difficult to imagine. I mean, what did a first century lamp or alabaster jar actually look like? We know what a storm looks like, we can imagine the animals boarding the ark two by two, and we love to imagine what the boat would have looked like.
There is something really amazing about the ark. The Hebrew word used here is Tevah and it is also used in one other story in the Bible. It is the thing that baby Moses is placed inside of to float down the Nile to safety. Now we like to translate that word to be “basket” because that makes more sense. Baskets are small, arks are big. But they are actually the same word. As Rabbi Charles Isbell would say it’s not about being a vessel, it’s about being a preserver of life where death is expected.
As you see, the heart of this story is not about the boat or the animals or even the storm. It is a story of preserving life where death is expected. It is a story of God’s judgment and grace. It is easy here to fall into the trap of calling God “wrathful” or “violent.” That might be the image we would get if we were to stop the story just before the rainbow and God’s promise to humanity.
The bow, an ancient symbol of war, now set in the sky to serve as a reminder of God’s covenant with humanity. A promise God offers us freely with no obligation or stipulation. This is not just for Noah, not just for his family, not just for the animals, but this is a promise for ALL of creation. Never again will God destroy the earth by water. And the truly incredible thing about this story is that creation does not change. Before the flood we were a fallen people. After the flood we are still a fallen people, but never again will God destroy the earth by flood.
It’s not a story of judgment and punishment. It’s a story of God’s abundant grace. From before the flood to after the flood humanity has not done nothing to merit the love of God revealed in this promise. Yet it is still offered to us freely. Sound familiar? To me, this sounds like the story of Jesus. God will never again destroy the earth with a flood, instead God sends his son to save this broken creation. A gift of grace we have done nothing to deserve. Just like the ark, the cross is also a story of life where death is expected.