7 Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” 5 And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him.
Every morning, when I wake up (okay sometimes it is closer to noon since I work nights) I try to remind myself that today is the day that will change my life…of course when I say this to myself I hope that there is some dramatic stroke of good luck that will find me in a better situation than I am in right now, but to be pragmatic, I know that these sort of changes seldom happen in life, which is what makes them so special when they do happen. However, this does not mean that my daily affirmation is incorrect, because each day we live does change our lives…every decision made or not made, every action taken or not, all have an impact on our lives.
Sometimes however, change does come dramatically…and we find ourselves faced with major changes that leave us having to sink or swim.
In today’s reading we hear about Noah, and how his life…his world changed so dramatically, when God told him of his plans to “clean-house” by flooding the world; yet the floods and storms to come will not end the world, but instead will set the stage for a renewal, a re-birth, a change!
In this story, the world has turned sour, God’s children are misbehaving and not listening, and so God decides the Earth needs to be “re-set”. Yet, God does not start over completely as Noah and his family were to be spared due to their righteousness, so God tells him to build an Ark, and then to collect his family along with two of every creature, so that God has something to start over with…
An Ark is designed to keep something that is precious safe from the elements, like dirt, rain, snow and storms…as we have seen in the Ark of the Covenant, built to protect the word of God in the midst of the people! Just as God commanded that the Covenant, Noah, his family and the animals be protected by an Ark, God also protects us, by giving us the ark of grace that can carry us through the storms and disasters of life. Christ is our Ark, which gives us the faith and strength to see us through the tough times, and also the joy to appreciate the good times in our lives!
And this Ark, this grace can keep us safe through the changes that come to us during our every-day lives, and those that come more dramatically, such as a death, divorce, or other kind of loss that can shake up our world.
As single parents, we know what it is like to have our world shaken up, and having to all over again; therefore we have had to learn to think on our feet when things get hectic in our lives and in the lives of our children so that we can be like an Ark to help them get safely through the trials and tumult of growing up. Our love and support can help them through the storms of childhood and the teen years providing them with a refuge from the changes in their lives, both the major changes as well as the everyday challenges they face.
Unfortunately, our love and support cannot prevent the storms that our children will have to endure…as these storms are part of growing up, life-lessons that can them children stronger, wiser, and not only test their faith, but strengthen it…and ours as well.
Whether these storms are caused by their own misjudgment, or due to the bad choices of those close to them, sometimes all we can do is just carry our children through these storms, help them to learn from these life-lessons by sharing our own experience, strength and hope with them, and by showing them our faith in action, as we give them our direction and love…and by doing so, being their Ark, their refuge, their protection which can carry them through the rough seas of life.
It is the Ark of God’s grace, given to us as a free gift through Christ, which has the ability to carry ourselves and our children through life, and which and also gather us together in faith for both support when times are hard, and celebration when life is good; regardless of the circumstances or storms which rage outside, within this Ark of grace there is always the light and hope of God’s love.
Living in faith, trusting in God’s love for us, each day has the power to change our lives, usually these changes are subtle, but occasionally they are major and dramatic…such a going through a real disaster or a painful and tragic loss…no matter what the changes are, or how hard the impact, we will all remain safely surrounded by God’s love…love that can help us get through the storms of change clear onto the new morning…washed fresh and clean by the rain, the soil replenished by the rains, and new growth already beginning!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for giving us the gift of Christ, who is the Ark of your loving grace. Let us be an Ark of support and love for our children and help them as they face whatever storms that life may put in their way. And we thank you for the gift of new life, and of new beginnings promised in Christ, and for surrounding us with your Ark of grace, which can bring us through the sometimes tumultuous waters of raising our children, while we grow up with them at the same time. Help us to share this gift of grace with each other…letting the world know that there is room for all in your gracious Ark.