"Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:‘ . . . I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.'" - Genesis 9:8-11
Whenever I hear people (including me) talking about the covenant God makes here, they seem to be operating on the assumption that God is promising to never CAUSE another flood to ruin everything. Which I have never cared much about, because frankly I never really believed that God flooded the earth in the first place. So I wasn't really all that relieved by a promise to not do it again.
But actually, if you read closely you'll see that that's not the promise God makes here. She actually promises that there will never be another flood, period. No mention of cause; just that God will keep it from happening.
Now that gets my attention. Because while I've never for one second fretted that God might intentionally open the fountains of the deep, I think a great deal about the ways we seem to be hellbent on doing that ourselves. With temperatures and sea levels on the rise, with ice caps and glaciers on the retreat, a worldwide flood of our own making seems like a real possibility. So God's promise to stop such a flood comes as a great relief to me.
But I'd hate to make God do all the work. The deal with God's action is that we're always supposed to get on board, put our shoulders to the same wheel. So if you find God's promise to be a relief, and want to get in on the action, try this.
Holy one, help me keep anything but love from flooding the world. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is the Pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church, Syracuse, New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.