In our worship on the first day of the new year, I shared with the congregation my desire to spend the year reading through the Bible together. If you are searching for a resolution that will make a difference--this, is it!
To help us in this spiritual discipline, we plan to use the reading plan from the One Year Bible by Tyndale House Publishing. Some copies of the Bible will be available through the church office ($10) or through a variety of online retailers. We will also be posting the monthly reading schedule in the Link for those who would like to follow along in your personal Bibles.
Furthermore, your pastors and staff look forward to sharing some of our reflections on the daily readings.
After this morning's reading, I wanted to share a word that is not my own, but one that has fed my soul, nonetheless.
In his excellent book, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (which I just read over the recent holiday), Richard Rohr says this about today's reading from Genesis:
"The story is one of genius. God tells Noah to bring into the ark all the opposites: the wild and the domestic, the crawling and the flying, the clean and the unclean, the male and the female of each animal (Gen. 7:2-15).
In itself, that is understandable. But God does a most amazing thing. God locks them together inside the ark (Genesis 7:16).
Most people never note that God actually closed them in! God puts all the natural animosities, all the opposites together, and holds them together in one place. I used to think it was about balancing all the opposites within me, but slowly I have learned that it is actually "holding things" unreconciled that teaches us--leaving them partly unresolved and without perfect closure or explanation. How to live in hope has not been taught well to Christians. The ego always wants to settle the dust quickly and have answers now. But Paul says rightly, "In hope we are saved, yet hope is not hope if the object is seen" (Romans 8:24).
The ark therefore is an image of how God liberates and refines us. The ark is an image of the People of God on the waves of time, carrying the contradictions, the opposites, the tensions and the paradoxes of humanity.
You'd think we would claw one another the death inside, which we have done from time to time. But that gathering of contraries is, in fact, the school of salvation, and the school of love. That's where it happens, in honest community and committed relationships."
I appreciate this insight! It reminds me of something another gentleman said to me in the church office not long ago: "It has taken me a while, but I've finally come to realize that I do not learn much when I am only surrounded by others who think just like me."
This leaves me wondering...
What does it mean for us to be locked in the ark?
How does this image speak to our understanding of covenant with God? Or with each other? What sort of wisdom is revealed here that might be of use to the present life of the Church?
How confident are you that the flood waters will one day recede?
"But God remembered Noah..." (8:1). What about you?
Is there still room for hope?