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The Covenants God Keeps (1): Water

. 3 min read

2015/02/22
Christ Church, Mountain Top
Call
to Worship, Psalm 25.1-10
Children,
Mark 1.9-15
Message,
Genesis 9.8-17, with 1 Peter 3.18-22
Mike,
the hunter
      Gun racks
      Bow racks
“I
have hung [set] my bow in the clouds!” (Gn 9.13)
Covenant:
Treaty, agreement – sometimes between equals, sometimes between kings/lords and
their vassals – to provide shape to the relationship, clarify expectations,
provide guarantees
      Biblical covenants with God always
initiated by God!
            God wants relationship with us!
      Broken over and over by us, kept by God
            Tree of the knowledge of good and
evil
The
LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that
every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And
the LORD was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him
to his heart (Genesis 6.5-6)

Flood:
Genocide? Extinction-level event? Apocalypse?
      Greeting card comic: “Oh, crap! Was that TODAY?”
      The bow is a weapon! Not simply something
cute for children to paint, people to wear, symbol of diversity and welcome
Last Sunday: ISIS
video, behead 21 Egyptian Christians as “people of the cross”
      What of the cross? A piece of jewelry? An
instrument of torture and execution – turned into the instrument of our salvation.
We are “people of the cross”, called by Jesus to lay down our lives, take up
our crosses, and follow.
      The 21 Egyptian Christian martyrs, named
by ISIS as “people of the cross”
      That’s something ISIS has right. And, in
the modern “clash of cultures”, the church does not triumph by the sword but by
the cross. A nation or warlord may triumph by the sword, but never the church
of Jesus Christ. We are “people of the cross” and “the blood of the martyrs”
has ever been “the seed of the church” (Tertullian, 3rd century).
      We follow a God who transforms a weapon (bow)
into a symbol of peace, an act of violence (cross) into the instrument of our
salvation, and abject horror into the seed of the church
“I
have hung [set] my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant
between me and the earth” (Gn 9.13).
Implications:
1. ALL flesh – ecological
Environmental
debate tends to center on climate change, whether or not it is caused by
humans, and the public debate proceeds along the lines of party politics. As
far as I can tell, the Bible does not address the science of the climate change
debate at all. However, it make crystal clear, here and elsewhere, that God is
concerned about the entire ecosystem of the planet. Keeping our air and water
clean provides a habitable planet, hospitable to the full range of human and
non-human life, something the salvation side of the flood story provides. And
protecting endangered species from extinction seems consistent with God’s
desire in this story to save a reproductive pair of each species.

2. Flood as image of baptism (1 Peter 3.18-22).
Romans
6.4 – Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that,
just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too
might walk in newness of life.
As
you depart today, take the opportunity to place your hand in the baptismal
waters and remember your baptism.

3. Ark as image of church – a man-made imperfect
thing that – in obedience to God – is used by God to save. Diversity of the
church – and the animals probably did not get along all the time. Mission of
the church – who isn’t here, but needs to be? Cyril of Jerusalem, bait for the
hook.

4. God as the God of the second chance
      Noah, family, animals, a restart of the
entire “project”
As
awful as the flood was, we are told that it was not in a fit of rage that God
destroyed all flesh, but in the deep distress of grief. God desires connection
with us!

      Jesus “speaking to spirits in
prison” (1 Peter 3.18-22)

We
follow a God who transforms a weapon (bow) into a symbol of peace, an act of
violence (cross) into the instrument of our salvation, and abject horror into
the seed of the church.