Genesis 7:17, 23-24 CEB
17 The flood remained on the earth for forty days. The waters rose, lifted the ark, and it rode high above the earth. . . . 23 God wiped away every living thing that was on the fertile land—from human beings to livestock to crawling things to birds in the sky. They were wiped off the earth. Only Noah and those with him in the ark were left. 24 The waters rose over the earth for one hundred fifty days.
One of today’s readings is Genesis Chapter 7, which is quite long, so I focused on just a little bit of it. It is the story of Noah’s time on the ark with his wife, sons and daughters-in-law, not to mention two of every living creature that breathed air. And they were on that ark together at least the entire time the waters rose - not 40 days, but 150 days. That’s 5 months!
I don’t even want to think about what that must have been like! We have “only” been sheltering in place for 2 months. Some of us have been stuck in the house but many have been going to work regularly, or out to get groceries, prescriptions, etc. I have heard that some folks just go out for a drive simply to get out of the house. Even people restricted to the home can go for walks and working in their yards. I’ve started to enjoy taking the trash to the curb, just to get outside for a few minutes.
Noah et al had no where to go. They were stuck in the ark the entire time! At least five (5) months! No grocery delivery. No Grub Hub or Door Dash. No Amazon.com. No way to connect them with other people outside of the ark - because there were no other people. We do have all those things.
This is not to deny that there are lots of things we don’t have and miss. I miss my hair stylist and manicurist. I miss seeing all my friends in the flesh and hugs. But I can live without those things for as long as necessary because I want to be part of the solution. I want to help slow down the spread of Covid19. Masks, hand washing, and physical distancing are all part of that effort.
Noah knew life was going to be totally different when they finally got off the ark. They would have to work hard to get to some semblance of normal life. And they would have to work together to accomplish that. This is what we are looking ahead to - not so much going back to the way it used to be in the Before Time, but going forward with new energy and new ways to do many of our accustomed activities. But for now it’s all about patiently waiting until the flood recedes, and it’s safe to leave the ark.
Holy God, to whom a thousand years is like a day, help us through this time of waiting, so that we may be ready for a new beginning when the time is right. Amen.