I just signed a new covenant with First Pres., Duncan. The presbytery is also having to wrestle with my contract/covenant with them as well, as the longer this interim time marches on the more unrealistic my limited hours are. Then I turned to the readings this morning, and more talk of covenants – BIG ONES with God and God’s people.
The covenant with Noah is laid out today. It comes with a rainbow promise by story’s end.
There are a lot of covenants in the Bible. The first ones that come to mind are the covenants with Noah and Abraham. There is also the Sinai covenant. Covenants come in many forms, sometimes agreements between God and human, other times between human and human.
The Noahide covenant is a bridge forward and backward. God says to Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” This is yet another creation narrative, in a sense. God’s goodness spills forth, once again, and we too are invited to step out of our arks and renew our own covenant, one that extends to each other, to the earth, and to God.
By the end, the rainbow stands not simply as a promise not to destroy the earth, but as a sign of the goodness of God, the invitation to be in covenant with God, be fruitful and multiply and share life and love with all those around us.
At Sinai God makes covenant with the chosen people, and encourages them not to make covenants with the foreigners in the land of Canaan. This covenant today is a precursor to that, helping lay out the plans of God, to fill the earth with his love and the community of Israel. The intention is to have the whole earth spread with the name of the Lord. Sound familiar? It is the very promise that Paul and others were carrying forward as they brought the good news to the Gentiles.
The writer of Hebrews has offered solid food but his hearers are only able to digest milk. John says there is light and darkness in the world. Sometimes you get darkness. When you do, dust off your sandals and move ahead.
It’s still all about God and God’s loving embrace of all the world.
To live in glory, truth, and love in the present life is a joy and a freedom. In Christ we have another covenant – a covenant of love set before you were born. And we are drawn into that love that was set forth at the Noahide covenant, and led to share light and love, at all times remembering the rainbow of God’s love.