Sermon for Friends Congregational Church
Delivered by Rev. Dr. Dan De Leon
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Mark 1:9-15; Genesis 9:8-17
After fielding thoughts from the congregation about the symbolism of the rainbow: I urge us to see this rainbow together as a sign of hope. See this rainbow as hope, and hear these words from Genesis 9:8-17…
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Noah’s ark. It’s a children’s story. That’s one way to look at it. Maybe we think about those cute animals parading into a giant boat two by two, and we sing songs with made-up words like ‘floody floddy,’ and we rhyme those words with ‘muddy muddy.’ An old seminary professor of mine told me about one children’s book with a version of Noah’s ark where the animals actually assist Noah in building the ark. Cows, giraffes, and elephants are standing upright on two feet, and they somehow have the ability to hammer nails with their miraculous opposable thumbs. Amazing! That variation of the flood story informs how we look at rainbows. That story of Noah’s ark tells us that rainbows are a reminder to us that God loves us…and that God loves cuddly little puppy dogs, too.
That version of the story probably exists to cover up a different version of the story—you know, that flood story about how God is so angered by human rebellion that God floods the whole earth in a fit of divine rage that makes Clash of the Titans look like a children’s story.