As the second week of Great Lent comes to an end this weekend, we look back at a week filled with anxiety and emotional rollercoasters. If you’re like me, you have to force yourself to turn off the news just to have some peace and quiet. The last time I experienced this much public tension to this level was in the days and weeks after 9/11. I remember feeling like the anxiety might never end, and the (then new) 24-hour cable news didn’t help insisting on airing over and over scenes of panic.
For us, it has been just over a week since the Coronavirus (COVID19) came to consume our society. Although the signs of the illness had been growing for months, it wasn’t until our daily lives were affected that most of us took notice. It is hard for us to imagine when we hear that this crisis might last months.
Even our experience of Great Lent has been altered, but take a moment and read today’s reading (below) from Genesis, paying special attention to the final verses. After being in the Ark for more than a year, Noah finally was able to exit with his family and place his feet on dry land. His first action was to build an altar to God and make an offering to Him to express his gratitude that God has brought him out of the ark safely. God promised Noah (and He promises us) that He would never curse the ground because of man, and He would never “again destroy every living creature.”
I know the Coronavirus (COVID19) seems like the end is coming, but take heed my brothers and sisters. God will not destroy every living creature. He promised, and God always keeps His promise. As bad as this virus might get, this too shall pass. And when it is all over, I pray we won’t forget to thank God. In fact, we should thank Him now, in advance, for being with us every day during this crisis.
And in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made, and sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put forth his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she did not return to him any more. In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. Then God said to Noah, "Go forth from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh - birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth - that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply upon the earth." So Noah went forth, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him. And every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves upon the earth, went forth by families out of the ark. Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done." – Genesis 8.4-21