Genesis 8, 8 - 13
Today's contributor is Nicholas King, a Jesuit priest, scholar and author who teaches the New Testament at Oxford University. For the Bible passages, he used NRSV for the Old Testment and his own translation for the New Testament readings. To read passages from the King James Version, click here.
Something to read
Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him.
He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.
Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.
In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying.
Something to think about
Today's reading comes from the narrative of the Flood; and Noah is learning, through the ministry of the dove, that the waters which had covered the earth are now receding.
As the Book of Genesis tells the story, we may remember, the Flood came because human beings made bad and selfish choices. You may find yourself tempted to say 'But that is only a myth – we don't need to read those "old-fashioned stories".'
Stop a minute, though, and look around your world; are there bits of your environment that carry the marks of other people's bad choices? And what about the marks of your own bad choices?
And have you noticed extreme weather conditions recently, floods or hurricanes or drought or snowstorms, that are caused by human beings who have been tempted to take short-sighted and selfish options, burning fossil fuels, or chopping down forests?
What are your worst temptations? How does it affect the world you live in when you give in to those temptations? Are you prepared to work with God, as Noah did, to make the world something like God wants it to be?
Something to do
Do some research on the effect that human choices have had on the world that you live in. What changes might you (and not your neighbour across the road, or in a different country or continent) make in your life to co-operate with God in the continuing creation of our world?
Something to pray
God our loving Father, forgive us the blind selfishness that leads us to make bad choices which damage the beautiful world that you have given us. We ask you to give us, today, the wisdom to see where we have gone wrong, and the strength to change our ways. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.