Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission
Lectionary Reflection
Year A, Easter 2, Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 9:8-16

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: "I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you--the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you--every living creature on earth.  I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."
And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:  I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

Reflection on Genesis 9:8-16
by John Gibbs, Ph D

"Becoming People Who Are Safe for the World"
(Ecological Covenant)

God's "covenant with Noah" extends far beyond Noah and his family.  It is a covenant "with every living creature that is with you."  The rainbow is "the sign of the covenant" that God makes "between me and the earth."

God works not from creation toward chaos.  It's the other way around.  From the formless deep God worked through the Spirit/wind toward the creation.  God's covenant with the creation staves off chaos.

How that works out in this age of terror and mass murder remains to be seen. The plume of smoke that rose from Ground Zero and extended far out over the Atlantic Ocean was clearly seen by astronauts more than a hundred miles above.  It was also evident that so far gravity still worked, the sun continued to rise, and the surrounding landscape had been preserved intact.  At the same time "awed wisdom" knows that we dare not presume upon this ecological covenant.

There's a bigger goal now than "making the world safe for democracy."  If there is a unifying theme for our lectionary texts between Easter and Trinity Sunday, it may be this:  "Becoming People who are Safe for the World."

To Reflections on other Readings for this Sunday:
Old Testament
Genesis 9:8-16
 this page
Psalm 111  or
Psalm  118:19-24
New Testament
1 Peter 1:3-9 or 
Acts 2:14a, 22-32
John 20:19-31
General Reflection these Readings for the Easter Season
John Gibbs, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN.   He originally wrote this reflection in 2002.  He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the web site.

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