Tag Archive | Bible

The Gospel Truth? @thebfuu 3/15/15

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A lot of people cry in church, and that is usually a good thing. Tears can be good, and in times of grief or disappointment just letting them flow can be very healing. We cry when are hearts are touched, and our Sunday morning services should touch our hearts.

 

But people also cry in churches because their church is hurting them, telling them that they are somehow less than worthy, less than whole.   They are told that God doesn’t love them just as they are if they are gay. They may also be told that they are less than worthy if they happen to be female. It is in the Bible after all.

 

This morning’s sermon title is “The Gospel Truth” There really should be a question mark. Just like St Patrick did not really drive the snakes from Ireland because there were no snakes there to begin with, much of what we are told about the Bible is simply wrong. This sermon today might help some of you dialogue with or resist anyone who might be beating you about the head and wounding your heart with their literal interpretations of scripture.

 

The word Gospel comes from the Greek word, euangélion, and means quite literally “good news.”

 

It did not mean absolute fact, something that can’t be questioned, although the word has taken on that meaning in our language today.

In ancient Greece when a city-state was at war, and soldiers were far away engaged in combat, the people at home worried, just as we do today when our sons and daughters are at risk in foreign lands. After a battle, a runner raced back home, hopefully to bring the word of victory, to spread the gospel, the good news. That is the earliest evidence we have of how the word gospel was used.

When the early Christians were writing in Greek, they used the same term with the same meaning because they believed that the message of Jesus, the message of a loving God, of hope for the poor and oppressed, was very good news indeed.

 

Now we all want good news to be true. There is nothing so upsetting as to think something wonderful has happened and to find out there was disaster instead.

 

You know that feeling when you have struggled to park in the last tiny spot on a crowded street and then while walking away, you discover a small sign that tells you it is street sweeping day? We want good news to be true. We want to park our cars, our lives, someplace good, and not have to move them again. We don’t want to be required to read the fine print.

 

So it is with the Bible. If you read the fine print, if you study it, you will find that while it may still be good news, and it certainly contains much wisdom, what it says is not literal fact.

 

My Old Testament professor in seminary, a delightfully droll Franciscan priest, was fond of saying that the Bible is not history, it is not science, and it should never be used as a club, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

 

The Bible, he said, is a collection of the stories of a people and their struggles to be in right relationship with the divine, with God. It is full of metaphor and full of inconsistencies. It wasn’t written down all at one time; and God didn’t dictate it.

 

Biblical scholars, using modern methods, have determined that the bible is in fact a collection of stories, many of which were originally oral traditions, and almost of which were edited and changed over time.

 

The word Bible actually means library and comes from the name of the town Býblos, a Phoenician port where papyrus was prepared. And there is not just one Bible, a fact that many Biblical literalists don’t know. The Hebrew Scriptures are a collection of 24 books in three divisions: the law (or Torah), the prophets, and the writings. The Protestant Old Testament contains all the same books, but arranges them differently in order to make a theological point. The Roman Catholic Old Testament is larger than the protestant version; containing 15 additional books also known as the apocrypha, which means literally “hidden away”. The Greek Orthodox Church includes even more, and the Ethiopian Church yet again more.

So when someone tells you that they follow what is in the Bible, it would not be at all unreasonable to ask, “Which one?”

 

The official version of the bible and the books included in it is often referred to as the canon.

 

Most of the individual books have also been edited. Some are clearly combinations of different earlier versions. The Torah, what Christians call the Pentateuch, is composed of the first 5 books of the Hebrew Scripture: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Scholars have determined that there were originally as many as five separate and distinct written versions of the material in the Torah that were combined at a later time. They are referred to as the J, D, E, and P versions; P is for priestly and the style is rather dry and formulaic. The D source is found mainly in Deuteronomy.

 

J and E refer to two different Hebrew names for God. Scholars are still arguing about which source came first and the actual number of different sources, but they are in full agreement that the Torah was not written by Moses.

 

Have you ever wondered why there are two versions of the creation story in Genesis? Genesis one describes creation as happening in seven days and God creating both man and woman in his image at the same time. It is in Genesis 2 that God takes a rib from Adam to create Eve.

 

From the story of the flood to the tales of Abraham and Sarah, from the parting of the Red Seas to the listing of the Ten Commandments, there are both repetitions and differences in what the Bible says. So if someone tells you they believe what the Bible says, after they tell you which version, you might want to ask, which part of that version?

You also might want to ask them, if they say the Bible is the literal truth, if they think men really have one less rib than women. Did anyone else ever try to count their ribs and those of an opposite gender friend or sibling? I did. It was very confusing.   It also wasn’t particularly easy and I don’t remember even getting a firm number. Pull out an anatomy textbook later, or ask your doctor if you still aren’t sure. We aren’t going to engage in rib counting this morning here in church, but if you want, you can do that later, in the privacy of your own homes.

 

The New Testament section of the Bible was created in a similar fashion. It is a collection of stories and letters about Jesus and the early Church, some of which are repeated and many of which are inconsistent with each other.

 

Most scholars agree that some of the letters attributed to Paul were written earlier than any of the actual Gospels. They agree that Mark was the first gospel written; at least of the ones included in the canon, and that the authors of Matthew and Luke had access to Mark when they wrote their versions of the life of Jesus. Many believe that they also had copies of another text, possibly older than Mark, which contained various sayings of Jesus. That document is referred to as “Q”.

There was much controversy in the early church over what writings should be included. There was a lot of very diverse material floating around for the first four centuries, as well as very different oral traditions.   People argued about what should be included and what should be left out. Even as late as the protestant reformation Martin Luther argued that the book of James should not be included in the canon.

 

Some writings were lost for more than a thousand years, but scholars were aware of their existence because of historical records that made reference to them. Many of these texts were found in modern times. You may have heard of the Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Judas, and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which Tom read a portion of earlier. Often referred to as the Gnostic Gospels, more than 52 ancient Christian writings were discovered in 1945 in Egypt.

 

These writings, that are still being studied by scholars, give us a lot of clues about the diversity of Christian belief in the earliest years.

 

So, when someone tells you women should be silent in church because it says that in the Bible maybe you might want to quote from the Gospel of Mary where Levi calls Peter hot headed because he does not want to believe what Mary is saying.

 

You might also ask them why Paul felt the need to tell women they should be quiet. Most likely they were speaking up and he wanted to silence them.

The Gospel Truth really is a question mark. I haven’t even gone into the whole issue of translations, but it is pretty clear that Jesus didn’t speak King James English. He didn’t even speak Greek. Anyone who speaks more than one language knows very well that literal translations often result in distorted meanings.

Once while in a fairly impish mood, talking to someone who said that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuals, I quoted from the King James Version, Luke 17:34. The verse reads, literally:

“I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.”

Now, when you interpret that verse literally it is pretty clear that at least half of the gay people go to heaven, isn’t it?

I don’t actually suggest that you leave here today and go out and start arguments with biblical literalists. But if it interests you, do some reading about biblical scholarship.   If you want some recommendations, let me know. There are a lot of very good books out there, some very academic and some easier to read and digest.

But what I most want to leave you with today are some questions. What is your holy text, and what good news does it contain?

Do you find it in scripture; Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or perhaps another tradition? Do you find it in poetry, in nature, in connections with other people?

Each of us must find our own truth. We find it in our own lives and in the lives of others that we come to know. We find it in the world around us. It is helpful to read, to study, and to learn what others believe to be true. But in the end, we must each make our own peace with the meaning of our own life, and our own peace with whatever we mean when we say the word God. There is some gospel, some good news, however, even if there is not just one “gospel truth.” We don’t have to do any of this alone. There are other souls around engaged in similar journeys. Maybe we can learn from one another. Maybe we can stop using sacred texts like the Bible to justify our own bias and bigotry. Maybe love will finally find a way to vanquish hate.

Amen and Blessed Be. Can we have a hallelujah too?

 

 

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The Gospel Truth?

Video of the sermon (click here)

Reading:

The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene Chapter 9

When Mary had said this, she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her.

But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, Say what you wish to say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.

Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things. He questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?

Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?

Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.

But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well.

That is why He loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect Man, and separate as He commanded us and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said.

And when they heard this they began to go forth to proclaim and to preach.

Music Video: Macklemore Same Love (Click here)

Sermon text:

No more crying on Sundays is how that music video we just saw ends.

Sorry, but I can’t promise that.  Tears are good, and in times of grief or disappointment letting them flow can be very healing. We cry when are hearts are touched, and Sunday worship should touch our hearts.  It is the same reason people cry at weddings.  I cried at my own wedding celebration a little over a week ago, and I suspect there were not many dry eyes among the 120 or so people who witnessed our vows.

But people also cry in churches because their church is hurting them, telling them that they are somehow less than worthy, less than whole.   They are told that God doesn’t love them just as they are if they are gay.  They may also be told that they are less than worthy if they happen to be female. It is in the Bible after all.

This morning’s sermon title is “The Gospel Truth?” Did you notice the question mark? I gave a version of this sermon a number of years ago, but I think it might be especially useful again just now.  It might help some of you dialogue with or resist anyone who might be beating you about the head and wounding your heart with their literal interpretations of scripture.

The word Gospel comes from the Greek word, euangélion, and means quite literally “good news.”

It did not mean absolute fact, something that can’t be questioned, although the word has taken on that meaning in our language today.  In ancient Greece when a city-state was at war, and soldiers were far away engaged in combat, the people at home worried, just as we do today when our sons and daughters are at risk in foreign lands.  After a battle, a runner raced back home, hopefully to bring the word of victory, to spread the gospel, the good news.  That is the earliest evidence we have of how the word gospel was used.

When the early Christians were writing in Greek, they used the same term with the same meaning because they believed that the message of Jesus, the message of a loving God, of hope for the poor and oppressed, was very good news indeed.

Now we all want good news to be true.  There is nothing so upsetting as to think something wonderful has happened and to find out there was disaster instead.  We found out this last week how quickly things can move from joy to despair.  I really did not think the Supreme Court would put our marriages on hold.  But then again, I am still amazed that Shelby’s decision was implemented for even a few days.

You know that feeling when you have struggled to park in the last tiny spot on a crowded street or parking lot, and then while walking away, you discover a small no parking sign?  We want good news to be true.  We want to park our cars, our lives, someplace good, and not have to move them again.  We don’t want to be required to read the fine print.

So it is with the Bible.  If you read the fine print, if you study it, you find that while it may still be good news, and it certainly contains much wisdom, what it says is not literal fact.  My Old Testament professor in seminary, a delightfully droll Franciscan priest, was fond of saying that the Bible is not history and it is not science, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

The Bible, he said, is a collection of the stories of a people and their struggles to be in right relationship with the divine, with God.  It is full of metaphor and full of inconsistencies.  It wasn’t written down all at one time; and God didn’t dictate it.

Biblical scholars, using modern methods, have determined that the bible is in fact a collection of stories, many of which were originally oral traditions, and most of which were edited and changed over time.

The word Bible actually means library and comes from the name of the town Býblos, a Phoenician port where papyrus was prepared.  And there is not just one Bible, a fact that many Biblical literalists don’t know.  The Hebrew Scriptures are a collection of 24 books in three divisions:  the law (or Torah), the prophets, and the writings.  The Protestant Old Testament contains all the same books, but arranges them differently in order to make a theological point.  The Roman Catholic Old Testament is larger than the protestant version; containing 15 additional books also known as the apocrypha, which means literally “hidden away”.  The Greek Orthodox Church includes even more, and the Ethiopian Church yet again more.

So when someone tells you that they follow what is in the Bible, it would not be at all unreasonable to ask, “Which one?”

The official version of the bible and the books included in it is often referred to as the canon.

Most of the books have also been edited.  Some are clearly combinations of different earlier versions.  The Torah, what Christians call the Pentateuch, is composed of the first 5 books of the Hebrew Scripture:  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Scholars have determined that there were originally as many as five separate and distinct written versions of the material in the Torah that were combined at a later time.  They are referred to as the J, D, E, and P versions; P is for priestly and the style is rather dry and formulaic.  The D source is found mainly in Deuteronomy.

J and E refer to two different Hebrew names for God.  Scholars are still arguing about which source came first and the actual number of different sources, but they are in full agreement that the Torah was not written by Moses.

Have you ever wondered why there are two versions of the creation story in Genesis?  Genesis one describes creation as happening in seven days and God creating both man and woman in his image at the same time.  It is in Genesis 2 that God takes a rib from Adam to create Eve.

From the story of the flood to the tales of Abraham and Sarah, from the parting of the Red Seas to the listing of the Ten Commandments, there are both repetitions and differences in what the Bible says.  So if someone tells you they believe what the Bible says, after they tell you which version, you might want to ask, which part of that version?

You also might want to ask them, if they say the Bible is the literal truth, so then do they think men really have one less rib than women.  Did anyone else ever try to count their ribs and those of an opposite gender friend or sibling?  I did.  It was very confusing.   It also wasn’t particularly easy and I don’t remember even getting a firm number.  Pull out an anatomy textbook later, or ask your doctor if you still aren’t sure.  We aren’t going to engage in rib counting this morning here in church, but if you want, you can do that later, in the privacy of your own homes.

The New Testament Bible was created in a similar fashion.  It is a collection of stories and letters about Jesus and the early Church, some of which are repeated and inconsistent with each other.

Most scholars agree that some of the letters attributed to Paul were written earlier than any of the actual Gospels.  They agree that Mark was the first gospel written; at least of the ones included in the canon, and that the authors of Matthew and Luke had access to Mark when they wrote their versions of the life of Jesus.

Many believe that they also had copies of another text, possibly older than Mark, which contained various sayings of Jesus.  That document is referred to as “Q”.

There was much controversy in the early church over what writings should be included.  There was a lot of very diverse material floating around for the first four centuries, as well as different oral traditions.   People argued about what should be included and what should be left out.  Even as late as the protestant reformation Martin Luther argued that the book of James should not be included in the canon.

Some writings were lost for more than a thousand years, but scholars were aware of their existence because of historical records that made reference to them.  Many of these texts were found in modern times.  You may have heard of the Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Judas, and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which Catherin read a portion of earlier.  Often referred to as the Gnostic Gospels, more than 52 ancient Christian writings were discovered in 1945 in Egypt.

These writings that are still being studied by scholars, give us a lot of clues about the diversity of Christian belief in the earliest years.

So, when someone tells you women should be silent in church because it says that in the Bible maybe you might want to quote from the Gospel of Mary where Levi calls Peter hot headed because he does not want to believe what Mary is saying.

You might also ask them why Paul felt the need to tell women they should be quiet.  Most likely they were speaking up and he wanted to silence them.

The Gospel Truth really is a question mark.  I haven’t even gone into the whole issue of translations, but it is pretty clear that Jesus didn’t speak King James English.  He didn’t even speak Greek.  Anyone who speaks more than one language well knows that literal translations often result in distorted meanings.

Once while in a fairly impish mood, talking to someone who said that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuals, I quoted from the King James Version, Luke 17:34.  The verse reads, literally:

“I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.”

Now, when you interpret that verse literally it is pretty clear that at least half of the gay people go to heaven, isn’t it?

I don’t actually suggest that you leave here today and go out and start arguments with biblical literalists.  But if it interests you, do some reading about biblical scholarship.   If you want some recommendations, let me know.  There are a lot of very good books out there, some very academic and some easier to read and digest.

But what I most want to leave you with today are some questions.  What is your holy text, and what good news does it contain?  Do you find it in scripture; Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or perhaps another tradition?  Do you find it in poetry, in nature, in connections with other people?

Each of us must find our own truth.  We find it in our own lives and in the lives of others that we come to know.  We find it in the world around us.  It is helpful to read, to study, and to learn what others believe to be true.  But in the end, we must each make our own peace with the meaning of our own life, and our own peace with whatever we mean when we say the word God. There is some gospel, some good news, however, even if there is not just one “gospel truth.”  We don’t have to do any of this alone.  There are other souls around engaged in similar journeys.  Maybe we can learn from one another.  Maybe we can stop using sacred texts like the Bible to justify our own bias and bigotry.  Maybe love will finally find a way to vanquish hate.

Amen and Blessed Be.  Can we have a hallelujah too?

Noah’s Boat

To watch a video of the sermon click (here)

Noah’s Boat

Opening words: World’s End

Reading:

Genesis

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and 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.[d] 11 I 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.” 12 God 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:13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I 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. 

Music:  Somewhere over the Rainbow by Masters of None

Sermon notes:

Ah rainbows!  We really love rainbows here.  This week we celebrated National Coming Out Day, so it is quite appropriate to sing the song we just heard from the choir.  Did you know that back in the bad old days, when almost everyone was in the closet, asking someone if they were a “friend of Dorothy” was a safe way to find out if they were gay?  Sometimes it takes a wizard.

Today we are going to talk about Noah and his ark, and what meaning that ancient story might hold for us today. The topic is one I chose in response to a comment made on facebook from someone who has been attending this church a fair amount. He said that the first time I told the story of Noah and the flood as if it were actual fact would be the last time he came to this church.  So in case you are worried, and you know who you are, the plan today is NOT to drive you away.

The Noah story is an interesting one, but our earlier reading is not the most interesting part even if it is the most popular.  The interesting parts you have likely never heard in a more traditional church.  They are frankly more than a little awkward.

In Genesis 6 it says,

When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose.

Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide[a] in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.

Say what?  The “sons of God” had children with human women!  I thought there was only one Son of God?  This is where we need to understand that the concept of God changes in the Bible.  In the oldest sections, there were many Gods and the other religions in the region had a great deal of influence on the ideas and stories of the wandering tribe that eventually developed the Jewish faith tradition.  Another example is from the Ten Commandments the one about having no other gods before me. Monotheism, the belief there is only one God is a fairly new invention in terms of human history.

There really is a lot of history in the Bible.  It just isn’t literal, and you have to read between the lines if you want to understand it even a little bit.

The story goes on to say:

The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” God’s creation was evil, and the children of his Sons evil too.  So much for the idea of a perfect deity, here he is apologizing for his mistakes.  The next line is one I don’t like very much:

But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.”  I don’t like it because it implies that God likes some people more than others, which is something that makes absolutely no sense to me.

Noah is also a very questionable choice for an example of virtue in my opinion.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

In the story, Noah builds his boat and follows God’s instructions, which were very specific as to how big it should be and what kind of wood to use. He gathers his sons and their wives and every creature on earth. He tells Noah to have seven pairs of clean animals and only one pair of unclean ones. Funny, the toy ark I had as a child only had two of each animal and there were only about six different animals.  At least they all fit in the ark, something that would clearly be impossible if we wanted to believe this story as actual fact.

Later in Genesis, it doesn’t mention the seven pairs of clean animals.  This is more evidence of what almost all real Biblical scholars believe to be true.  The Hebrew Scriptures are a collection of ancient writings, many of which have conflicting information.

The different sources were put together in a way that seemed to make the most sense to the compilers but it is why there are two different versions of the creation story for another example.  The same is true in the New Testament with the four gospels having very different narratives of the life of Jesus, including those about his birth and resurrection. They cannot all be factually true at the same time.  Some followers of modern Christianity have attempted to blend them all of them together.  It is a tough job.  I am so glad not to be a Biblical literalist!

I could go on, there are a lot of metaphors in the story of Noah, the forty days of rain just meant it rained for a long time.  Quite often, the number 40 is used in Bible stories to mean a long time, whether it is the 40 years wandering in the desert as Moses did, or the 40 days in the wilderness in the case of Jesus.  Similarly, there were of course floods in ancient times just as there are today.  “It covered the whole world” is perhaps how a really big flood would likely be described.

I could go on line by line but I need to mention one more part of the story of Noah.  Remember that God liked Noah, and said that he alone was righteous. After the flood, he told him to be fruitful and multiply.

But if you think Noah was so good, then how do we explain the following passage that follows the sweet story about the rainbow in the heavens.

20 Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard.

21 He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.

23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan; lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.”26 He also said,“Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem;
and let Canaan be his slave.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but the way this story reads to me is that Noah got very drunk.  He got so drunk that he took off all his clothes.  Who knows what else he was doing in that tent of his.  Then his son Ham goes into the tent, sees his drunk, naked father, and tells his brothers.  Because of this his son Canaan is cursed and so are his children.  Is that righteousness?  Is that justice?  Hardly, all Ham did was see his drunken father.  His son Canaan did not do anything at all. Does this mean the Bible is telling us we should ignore the failings of the powerful, that we should turn our backs so we don’t see their vulnerabilities and shame?

Who knows what it is in fact saying?  It is likely another metaphor.  Ham’s son is named Canaan and Canaan was another nation in those times.  Perhaps that story was meant as an explanation of why the Canaanites were considered bad people.

It is a weird story though, and it doesn’t make Noah look fair or just or righteous.  What was God thinking to save only him and his family?

But what can the story of Noah mean for us today, if anything?  One, we need to understand some of the traditional interpretations because so many people believe them.  Some of the deniers of human caused climate change say they aren’t worried because God promised Noah that floods would never destroy the world again.

Somehow that doesn’t reassure me and it probably doesn’t reassure all the people in Colorado who lost their homes to the horrible flooding there last month.

But more important than knowing that some people take these stories literally and act as if they really happened, is taking to heart the underlying message of the story.

We need to look around and see what is happening in the world and to our planet.  We need to prepare for the floods, both literal and figurative, that are coming.  We need to see the signs that tell us we are close to killing the earth that sustains our lives and the lives of all the creatures that live here with us.  We need to build an ark and begin to start saving what we can.  The promise of the rainbow to me is a symbol of hope, a hope that humanity can find the strength and the wisdom to connect with a spirit that can save us from whatever disasters we have created for ourselves. Humans are not inherently wicked and our hearts are full of so much more than just evil.

We aren’t completely righteous either.  We too, like Noah, can tend to blame others for our own mistakes.  We ignore the signs of coming floods and other disasters because it is often easier to turn our backs and pretend not to see.

Look to the rainbows, friends.  We will find our way to dry land.  Amen and blessed Be.

Closing Hymn “Blue Boat Home” Click (here) to see a you-tube version