Excerpt from Genesis 6:5-22
“‘Make yourself an ark of cypress wood . . .”
Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell
Noah’s ark scares me. It all just seems so precarious, you know? All the life on earth, every bit of viable DNA that still exists, is floating there, just one well-placed hoof-kick through a bulkhead or one escaped ember in the hay away from the end of all life forever. And only Noah and his family trying to keep it all going and alive.
Which isn’t so different from the situation on this planet. Just one planet, only one, equipped by God for sustaining life as it floats a lonely path across the face of the void. Like the ark, carrying all the viable DNA in the solar system, maybe all the DNA in the whole galaxy, maybe all that there is in the entire universe. Precarious.
I believe that from time to time, God calls new Noahs to tell the rest of the family how to care for our ark, what to do to keep the life here safe and thriving. Among them: John James Audubon, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Chico Mendes, Wendell Berry. Tomorrow is the birthday of another: Rachel Carson. I plan to celebrate it as a kind of ecological saint’s day, reminding myself what she taught us and praying to live accordingly.
Why not spend today learning about these new Noahs and what God sent them to do for the ark? Why not spend today praying to see whether you might be the next one?
Dear God, all this life, all this life on just this one tiny planet. Show me what to do. Amen.
About the Author
Quinn G. Caldwell is Associate Minister of Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9
“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”
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