News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland
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: