Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Reflection - Graham Lunn

image from google.

This homily was given by Graham Lunn, a final year ordinand, at Evening Prayer on Monday 17th January 2011. (Readings: Genesis 6:11-7:10, Matthew 24:1-14)


Genesis 6:22 is one of my favourite verses in the Scriptures, as it testifies to Northern Irish involvement in the composition of the flood narrative. For, if we render this verse literally, it translates as, "and Noah did according to all that God commanded him, so he did". Of course, the NRSV committee did not wish this best-kept of biblical secrets to be revealed, so they translated as follows: "Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him".

One of the most striking features, for me, of the flood account in Genesis is the emphasis placed on Noah's obedience to God. Both the background traditions which seem to have come together to form the narrative we now have are clear on this: the reason that Noah pleased God, that the Lord accounted him righteous among a corrupt generation, was that he was willing to listen to God and obey. Indeed, the presenting cause for the flood being sent to cleanse the earth had been a discernible lack of obedience to the Lord's commands, shown in the marriage of the "sons of God" to the "daughters of humans" (do see me afterwards if you which to discuss this interpretation).

So it is that Noah is the one with whom God chooses to establish his covenant, the first covenant in salvation history. I wonder how it might be if we reminded ourselves that we, too, are children of a covenant. Ours is the dispensation of the new and everlasting covenant, established and ratified by the supreme obedience of another middle-eastern man to the will of God. Yet the fact that it is the Son of God who established this covenant by the shedding of his blood does not exempt us from our duty to obey. Indeed, as those being formed to be priests of this new covenant, we must always be mindful of our obligation to live as Christ in the world, righteous among a corrupt generation. In this we do nothing more than fulfill our baptismal vocation; but there may come a day for many of us when, God willing, we shall have to administer the sacraments of the new covenant to the People of God, and we can do this only in his strength and in obedience to his command.

May God therefore grant us the courage and power to do his will, to work towards those things which would please him. May our love never grow cold, that we may be counted among those who endure to the end, and thus are saved.

Let us pray.

O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people which call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.