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Genesis 9:8-17 & 1 Peter 3:18-22
Today is the first Sunday of Lent, and also the first Sunday during the Lunar New Year Celebration. These holidays speak of self-sacrifice and denial, as well as jubilation and prosperity. Can you have one without the other? How are they related? How do we live out our faith in today’s world – both in suffering and in blessing, in dry and fertile times?
Textual & Theological Notes – Genesis 9
This is the third and final part of the conclusion to the story of the flood: God’s recreation of the world. There are in 9:20-22, 9:1-7, and 9:8-17. Although humankind seems hopeless God will stay with, endure and sustain his world nonetheless. The faithful resolve of God envelopes the curses, judgements and anticipations of Genesis 3:17, 4:11 and 5:29.
God was also committed to creation – to humankind – but now this commitment, although unchanged, seems intensified. There has been betrayal and hurt, and God’s commitment has a cost. The relationship seems to be one of a grieved God and resistant world, not just a strong God and needy world.
There is a promise to both the world and to Israel. God makes an irresistible commitment to humankind and all of creation – “never again”
This “never again” of God is also echoed in 2 Samuel 7:15-16 “15 But I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.” As well as in Isaiah 43:1-2 : “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the … rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;.”
Curiously God doesn’t promise that there will be no more chaos, destruction or need for deliverance, rather than “never again” will God let humankind suffer the divine wrath.
Textual & Theological Notes – 1 Peter 3
This scripture passage is rich and confusing. Rather than focusing upon specifics words and phrases, it seems wiser to take is as a whole. It sounds like a confession of faith shared at baptism. I can hear Philippians 2:6-11 in the background as well as the vocation of the Spirit of God in Romans 8. It climaxes with a radical promise – that we have been saved and transformed into that victorious image of Christ through baptism.
Questions for going deeper: