But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.
After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”
One of the strange things about writing these reflections is the timing. I’m writing this on 1st March just after Britain has been hammered by successive storms which caused a lot of flooding. You will be reading this on my wedding anniversary, and I’ll be on holiday in our caravan hoping that the weather is as good as it was 16 years ago. How very British to talk about the weather.
Imagine how Noah felt. He had not suffered one month of heavy rainfall but month after month of rain with the whole world flooded. People are describing on the news how hard it is to spend 14 days in self-isolation, if they have been to areas with Corvid-19 virus. Noah and his family spent about a year in the Ark.
We might expect Noah to complain, to rail against God, but he doesn’t. God remembers him and after the flood had receded the earth was once more dry so God told Noah and his sons and daughters-in-law to leave the arc so they could inhabit the earth again. Many churches remember the eight people who were in the ark by having a font with eight sides.
Do we shout at God when the place we live is flooded or do we decide to make changes so the climate chaos is not fueled by our actions? We all need to remember God, just as God remembered Noah in the Ark. No matter what seems to be going wrong in the world we can hang on the constant that is the love of God, as shown in his remembering Noah and all that followed including sending His son to die for us. We can rejoice in the resurrected Jesus.
Loving God thank you for looking after Noah and his family. Thank you that you look after me. As you protected Noah, protect me by showing me how to survive all the things that worry me.
Move the hearts and minds of our leaders that they see the damage done to your creation and reduce pollution, flooding and damage.
Show me what I can do to help your fragile world. Amen
John Collings, Lay Preacher, member of Rutherglen URC.