The Covenant

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Reverend Rob Lamerton
5 March 2006, Lent 1

The covenant with Noah differs from other Old Testament covenants in that it is a covenant made NOT with Israel but with the whole human race — In this covenant God promises NOT to destroy the earth — instead it is a covenant of divine preservation and redemption. The sign of course is the rainbow! Now, we know about the refraction of light which causes such phenomena, but the ancients did not! And so this is an "etiological myth" — a story designed to explain the meaning of this puzzling event.

Noah's flood became in Christian thought connected with the idea of baptism — as we find in the first letter of Peter: "God waited patiently in the days of Noah during the building of the Ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water."

Many medieval fonts depict Noah's ark as a symbol of the Church — those who have passed through the water find themselves floating safely in the ark amid the chaotic waters of the world.

The church, and baptism into it, provides a place of safety in a confusing world!

In the gospel of Mark images of the water of baptism "Spirit like a dove" recall both creation and the Noah covenant.

Jesus is "my son the beloved" — a new human race is being born and this one like Moses and Elijah is the righteous one who is able to rise above and defeat the forces of Satan.

As we enter Lent it is this covenant we are called to recall and reconsider. The Repentance of Lent is rethinking HOW we might better participate in God's covenant to redeem creation and how in our baptism God also stands by us to over power the one who obstructs or opposes, Satan (the Devil/deceiver)

Rob then read from his Rector's report for 2005