Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Flood and Rainbow Promise
Genesis 6:16-22; 9:8-15 Commentary
by Jacqueline E. Lapsley
The earth was so corrupted by violence that God decided to wipe out everything God had made.
This is a terrifying story, even before the digital special effects of the recent “Noah” movie. In our rush to tame the story, to divert attention from the shocking fact that God wants to destroy everything, we focus on the animals (“two by two”) and make thematic nursery room wallpaper. In the context of the larger primeval story (Genesis 1-11), however, the terror of the flood is not that surprising, even if it still shocks.
The evidence that the creatures God has made -- and especially the human creatures -- are extremely violent, has been amassing almost since the beginning. The disobedience of the first couple, which put themselves at the center of the meaning instead of God, sets up the disobedience of Cain; first the relationship between humans and God is damaged (Genesis 3), then the relationship within human community is damaged (Genesis 4). Violence is made possible by the disordered relationship with God. Cain’s descendent Lamech intensifies the ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 139: Flood and Promise
September 07, 2014
Join Profs. Cameron Howard, Craig Koester and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 1 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the reading for Sept. 7, 2014: Genesis 6:16-22; 9:8-15. Accompanying reading: Matthew 8:24-27.