RCL Year B Lent 1
Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 25:1-9, I Peter 3:18-22, Saint Mark 1:9-15

“And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.’”[1]

How would you like to be told to do that? We have only been invited to “the observance of a holy Lent.”[2] But Noah finds favor with the Lord, and Noah finds that the devastation of a flood, intended for those who have not found favor with the Lord, saves him. An instrument of shameful death saves him.

Does that phrase, “instrument of shameful death,”[3] sound familiar? We use it in Holy Week about Jesus’ Crucifixion, and it points us to a fundamental article of our faith. God can use a flood, or a cross, to save us. Saving us is the point and the issue. We heard in the Epistle that by the flood “a few…eight persons were saved through water.”[4] That is the point and the issue.

I charge you that when God gives you something like a flood or a cross, to ask yourself, and to ask God, how whatever it is may be an instrument of salvation. For that is God’s declaration to each of us: he desires not our death but that we turn and live.

Whatever obstacle seems to block your path, whatever hindrance you encounter, turn your mind to Christ, and ask yourself, ask God, how that hindrance can be used to carry you to salvation.

For we are reminded in Lent that Christ carries us to salvation. He throws us up on his shoulders, the shoulders of the Good Shepherd, and takes us across to the other side. I don’t think we are permitted to be backseat drivers. I am not sure that we can continually object that God knows not what he is doing. This Lent is yet another opportunity to join the program and to get on board. It’s another opportunity to accept God’s goodness and to give God permission to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

[1] Genesis 6:13-14.

[2] BCP, page 265.

[3] BCP, page 220.

[4] I Peter 3:20.