The glorious sunshine and bright blue sky on this cold November morning is in stark contrast with the wind and rain and in some areas, flooding, that we had earlier in the week. I wonder if this contrast was similar to the one experienced by our friend Noah in the Bible when he eventually managed to get out of the Ark. We revisited his story in our service on Sunday reflecting on the sense of thankfulness he must have felt at the end of 40 days and 40 nights of enforced imprisonment with all those animals, not to mention members of his extended family!
Our preacher Andy reminded us that it is good to look again at some of the stories in the Bible that many of us first encountered in Sunday School. Thinking that we already know them so well, we can sometime overlook the clues of God presence or miss what God might be wanting to say to us through it. For me the cutesy images of cartoon animals trotting into the Ark two by two, hide the fact that this is a tale about God’s judgement on a world full of violence but also one where God’s grace and willingness to restore and heal are affirmed by a rainbow in the sky. Whenever we feel threaten by the storms and floods in our own lives, that image of a rainbow reminds that God is still close to us and that he won’t allow us to be overwhelmed.
Another story that we think we know so well is that of the birth of Jesus. Buried under all that tinsel and mistletoe, the miracle of the Creator of the Universe becoming a small, weak, vulnerable baby is often overlooked. He too comes as a judge, using justice and fairness to rule all the people of the world (Psalm 96:13 Good News Version). In an age where justice and fairness are so often lacking, maybe we could use our up and coming Advent services to dig deeper into the well known accounts of the Nativity to recognise that Christmas is a chance to celebrate God’s on going grace and love towards us.
Enjoy the rainbow!