The scene in our Genesis passage today is most certainly one filled with hope but also anxiety. After 40 days on the ark Noah anxiously sends out the raven and then the dove three times. The second time the dove comes back with an olive leaf, a symbol of peace and flourishing life. The third time the dove does not come back, evidently finding a place to nest, or deciding the ark was a smelly mess anyway, not wanting to return!
The dove provides us with a symbol of renewal and hope.
The Psalmist too is looking for guidance and deliverance (Ps 25 is the psalm for the day, btw). It is unclear specifically what is the problem is. This unspecified trouble comes with it specific remedies though: reasons for God’s gracious response and goodness. The Psalmist claims obedience, offering to “lift up my soul” and saying to God, “In you I trust, do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.”
“My eyes are ever toward the LORD.” These words of dedication and trust in God’s grace are unwavering. Without knowing what problem he was experiencing, the Psalmist lays out the road ahead, “Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.”
What I enjoy about the story of the Ark, as well as the Psalms, is that they stand in the face of our culture of mistrust. Here are two beautiful examples of deliverance and trust.
Today is the funeral for my buddy Martha Pat Upp. If there was anyone at FPCOKC who put their trust in God it was certainly Martha Pat. She was also a faithful reader of my Morning Reflections when I started these things, and a big fan. And through the turbulence of life, she trucked on, faithful and sure as ever that God was at the helm and with her eyes fixed on God and God’s direction.
The movement from the ark back to dry land is almost like experiencing another creation narrative, with slow deliberate transformations and growth. The earth first accepts animals, like the dove nesting, and when it is ready, in due time, Noah and the gang hit dry land.
We all know that ark was smelly. I mean, come on. But yet, I read the story of the Ark and I sense a cleansing, and a spirit of purity and grace. God accepts Noah in his limitations, and works miraculous grace.
And this is where the Psalmist stands in grace as well. God’s “Yes” is greater than our “No’s.”