Noah’s Ark and the Eucharist

One can find Communion preaching texts in the most unexpected places…

The Noah story in Genesis starts with some disturbing words about the grief suffered by Yahweh as he experiences the reality of human brokenness.  He is suffering pain at the hands of his creatures.  His pain is real, but he finally decides to stay with the pain for the sake of staying with humanity.  He is free to escape the situation, but he chooses instead to bear in his own soul the terrible contradiction between himself and his self-destructing creatures.

This is the essence of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Let’s say I have wronged you in some hurtful way.  If you bear a grudge against me, it means you are choosing to hold on to the pain I have caused you, so that you might give that pain back to me at some later date.  So you hold the pain close, letting it wound you over and over again (when you don’t really need to experience the wound more than once).  Of course, you’ll discover this doesn’t work.  Even if you get revenge on me and cause me pain, YOUR pain will still not go away.

The only way for you to be freed from the pain is to let go of it, which means letting go of those possible futures in which you might get to dish it back to me.  In other words, you need to forgive me, not for my sake, but for YOURS.  Forgiveness doesn’t make it okay that I did what I did to you.  What forgiveness does is set you free from being wounded any more than you already are.

Now, you may well decide to forgive me but never talk to me again.  It may be that I am a destructive force in your life, and you need to set up boundaries to protect yourself from future damage (This kind of forgiveness is often necessary in abusive relationships, for example).

Reconciliation takes it a step further to seeking healing for the relationship.  And it can happen if both of us are willing to reconcile.  But if you want reconciliation but I don’t, then you have a problem.  You either need to give up on your dreams of reconciliation, or you can choose to keep seeking reconciliation in the hopes that I will someday come around.  It’s a choice to take a long and painful journey that may never pay off.

This is what I see in Yahweh’s decision to not destroy the whole human race in the Flood.  Not only is he forgiving, but he is choosing the bloody path of hoped-for reconciliation.  It’s a path that will one day get himself killed by human hands.

He shed his blood for the forgiveness of sins.

I used to think this meant that the Father was feeling wrathful and therefore couldn’t extend the gift of forgiveness without first receiving a bucketful of blood, so Jesus gave him HIS blood, and then the Father felt appeased and agreed to give out forgiveness.

But I don’t believe that anymore.  Forgiveness/Reconciliation is part of the divine nature.  God don’t make no junk, and God don’t hold no grudges, neither.  To the Trinity, forgiving and seeking reconciliation is a “Well, DUH!” kind of decision.

But forgiveness/reconciliation hurts.  It comes at a cost.  Yahweh’s choice to stick with humanity has HURT him.  We see it in his grief in the Noah story, and we ultimately see it on the cross.  On the cross, we see exactly how far Yahweh is willing to go to maintain his commitment to forgive us and seek reconciliation with us.

His choice to forgive our sins means choosing to shed his blood.  And he is perfectly okay with his decision.

~ John Stonecypher

1 comment so far

  1. Michael William Smith on

    Great post on reconciliation brother! Thank you!


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