It’s Gonna Rain!Fr. Barnabas Powell
“It’s gonna rain. It’s gonna rain. You better get ready. You better get right. God told Noah, by the rainbow sign; He said no more water! But FIRE next time!” A classic song from Andrae Crouch and the Disciples struck me, as a teenage Christian, as the perfect warning to everyone – God will never again destroy His world through water. Next time, as the scriptures declare, it will be fire!
Whoah! That sounds serious. And it is! But what makes it serious isn’t fear or retribution or even punishment. God simply isn’t interested in that elementary and easily misunderstood interpretation of His plan for His Humanity. No, what makes it so serious, and, hopefully sobering, is that this truth is suppose to wake me up NOW to the opportunity by God’s grace to “get ready!”
Look at Genesis 7:11-8:3:
The flood continued forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily upon the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; the waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, birds, cattle, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm upon the earth, and every man; everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days. But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters had abated.
We’ve been hearing about this for several days now and we’ve been invited to see his old story with the eyes of the timeless Orthodox faith in emphasizing God’s love for humanity, His bitter “cure” for the terminal spiritual illness of humanity of Noah’s day, and His obedient servant Noah paying the price to see beyond the moment to prepare for God’s work.
And now the Flood has come, and this flood has done what God said it would do. As an aside, it always strikes me a amusing when modern scholars do all they can to explain away these stories of the scriptures. It always comes across as a prideful attempt to “tame” what was never meant to be tamed in the first place. They seem determined to make it easier on themselves by diminishing the power of the story to do what the story was meant to do – wake up humanity to our true purpose and focus. They use words like “myth” and “literal” all in a fruitless attempt to “soften the blow” of amazing stories that “couldn’t possibly be true. ” What a waste of time and a colossal missing of the point!
So, what is the point, you may ask? First, this is my Father’s world. As much as prideful humanity may insist otherwise, our life, our world, our universe, is a gift, and ignoring that fundamental truth has terrible consequences. Next, my Father has a purpose for my life, and that is to know Him in the “power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings” and to be conformed to His will. I will either embrace this purpose or I will experience His Unchanging Presence as torment. Finally, my Father will never forget me. Far from a disinterested “clock-maker” god of those who would prefer this troublesome Creator leave us alone, my Father knows me and loves me with a love that is beyond anything I can grasp or comprehend. I can only stand at the edge of my reason in slack-jawed wonder at His care and provision for me.
Today, the rainbow in the sky promises that God will never again cleanse the world by water. Now water is used for baptism, for blessing, and for life! But there will come a day either at the Parousia or at my own mortal end, when I will step into the glaring brightness of His Presence forever. Being wise enough to start getting my spiritual eyes use to this brightness is the whole reason to be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. How is your Lenten journey going? It’s hard, isn’t it? That’s why the Church gives us the gift of Pre-Sanctified Liturgies during this time. Why not add some church attendance to you Lenten labors and get the spiritual support you need to arrive at Pascha ready to celebrate?