Day 3: Genesis 7–9, Psalm 3, Matthew 3 – The Rev. Scott Gunn

Genesis 7–9, Psalm 3, Matthew 3
A few years ago, I asked a group of church leaders to name their favorite story from the
Bible. As we went around the table, over half of the people said “Noah’s ark.” Certainly it’s
a story rich with visual imagery. Walking through a large hardware store at Christmastime
not long ago, I saw an inflatable lawn decoration. It depicted the ark, with some cute
animals. Over the ark was a large banner: “Joy!”
Joy? Really? I wonder if people who love the story of Noah and the ark have read the
story. It is fundamentally a story about God drowning almost every living creature on
earth. Noah and his family would have heard the screams of women, men, and children.
It’s not a very joyous story. And yet this tale of a fresh beginning for God’s creation has a
hold on us and our culture. Aside from the potential to inspire fanciful murals, the story
concludes with God’s promise to spare humanity this terrible fate in the future. God, it
seems, was also horrified by how things turned out.
Most biblical scholars agree that the story of the flood is not history in the sense of
scientific fact. Rather, it is a story about God’s care for creation and God’s desire to form
a covenant with us. It is a story of meaning that teaches us something about ourselves,
our world, and our God.
It is ironic that in the same day we read about water used as a means of death, we also
read about John the Baptizer, who used water as a sign of new life. But in both cases,
water brings about new beginnings, new life. It cleanses us and our world, making us
ready for a fresh start.
Do you think the story of Noah’s Ark is a
story of joy? Why or why not?
How would a man such as John the
Baptist be received by today’s church?
Are his startling words about Jesus
relevant today?
Cleanse my heart and my life today, Lord
God. Make me ready for fresh starts with
each day’s grace. Amen.