Year A: Genesis 2:7–9, 3:1–7; Psalm 51:3–4, 5–6, 12–13, 17; Romans 5:12–19; Matthew 4:1–11 Year B: Genesis 9:8–15; Psalm 25:4–5, 6–7, 8–9; 1 Peter 3:18–22; Mark 1:12–15 Year C: Deuteronomy 26:4–10; Psalm 91:1–2, 10–11, 12–13, 14–15; Romans 10:8–13; Luke 4:1–13
Author’s Note: The Old Testament readings for the Lenten Sundays in all three cycles present the history of salvation, one of the teaching themes of Lent. I’ve chosen a figure from the Old Testament for several of these Sundays to assist you in your lenten prayer.
We can’t help but look at Noah through the lens of our modern sense of what’s acceptable behavior. Building an ark in your neighborhood is probably not calculated to win the approval of your neighbors. In reality, though, Noah’s response to God’s call is seen by the scriptural text as an act of faith. The risk Noah took, whatever his neighbors thought about his strange building project, made possible the display of God’s care for Noah and his family. It also helped introduce the biblical theme of covenant.
Following the flood, God makes a promise never to destroy his creation again by a flood (apocalyptic filmmakers, take note!). God’s promise takes the form of a “covenant,” a promise on God’s part, which in turn calls forth a response on the part of humanity. Creation on God’s part is an act of love, and the covenant with Noah reinforces that love.
The notion of covenant will surface again and again, until we hear it at the Last Supper. Jesus will offer us his Blood, poured out in a new covenant of love, helping to make each of us a new creation in Christ.
Today’s Action Step out today to observe God’s creation and make your own covenant response to help protect that creation.
God of the covenant, stretch your rainbow above us as a sign of your faithfulness. In the beauty of creation may we see your love written large and make a response of faith, with your help. Amen.