The day after the mid-term elections and my focus is a mess. Thankfully I no longer have to listen to campaign ads, and I was excited to see the new Sonic ads, the Christmas ads, and any ad that had no mention of the election.
I realize that this is not a typical reflective entry for my blog, but I cannot help but have a brain that is jumping all over the place with ideas. I admit to being a news junkie (remember I do have a journalism degree), and I do analyze the ads and struggle not to be too political.
This morning, though, my brain feels almost like it fizzled out. Certainly this is a common state for humans at different times in our week—or month or year.
Yesterday I was fully engaged and even worked on a project that has me reading the Biblical story of Noah and the flood. Found in Genesis 6-11, the story fills the kids Bibles and Sunday school curriculum. It catches their attention.
But my project has me using John Wesley’s quadrilateral approach to studying the scripture. First you read the scripture, next you evaluate the historical data that surrounds the scripture, and then turn to the human experience. Once the data is collected, one thinks. What does the story tell us?
The process is structured, and for me that is a good thing. My brain wanders easily and I can be interrupted by who knows what causing me to fail completing the task. So, I created a worksheet and began working through the story looking for the lesson that makes sense in today’s world.
The story tells us that God told Noah to build an ark, even providing the dimensions. And Noah builds the ark despite no knowledge that a flood was imminent. And Noah did build the ark despite all the ridicule of the community.
What does this tell us today?
First, I am reminded that God does speak to us. Sadly we have a hard time hearing him. If we were told to do something as odd as building this enormous ark, would we accept that as an honest message from God?
The story tells us that we must listen for God to speak with us. In our world today, the flood is all the media that pour over us in so many different ways—billboards, print media, audio broadcasts via the airwaves and the visual plus audio of television and now the input through our electronic devices—phone, tablets, personal computers, and televisions.
We are experiencing a flood that can drown us much the same as a physical flood of water can drown us. We lose our individualism, even our independent mental acuity especially if one is addicted to media access.
But back to the story of Noah and the flood: Put yourself in the story as a family member. Noah built this enormous ark with the help of his family—surely.
The social structure at that time would imply that this project was not just Noah holding a hammer, picking up lumber, and creating this ark all by himself. The reality is that Noah, as head of his family, would have enlisted his sons and all the servants and/or slaves that made up his household.
What does this tell us today?
As a family leader, we are responsible for others. How we live our lives is how we teach others. Noah’s story seems outrageous to us; yet, as a leader in his family, he modeled living an obedient servant of God. The family dynamics was strong enough to build an ark and trust that God did tell Noah to get ready. The family believed.
In today’s society, the head of a household struggles to teachfamilies about listening to God and following a lifestyle that incorporates faithfulness to God. This is not easy, especially when the flood from social media brings so many outside influences into our homes—just like the evil that flooded the world around Noah and his family.
The symbolism of the flood cannot be ignored. I am not going to argue whether or not the Biblical flood was real. A search about floods reveals a wide range of horrific floods and lists the estimated deaths from them. Floods destroy.
Yet, floods can be something other than water rising up from the land to cover roads, fields, homes, buildings, and more:
- Floods can be tears that seem never ending.
- Floods can be evil, as the Bible tells us God watched destroy the world.
- Floods can be addictions that take over one’s independent will.
- Floods can be the influx of ideas from the media.
Certainly the symbolism of the Biblical story can be developed into a lesson for us today. Discipline one’s life to read scripture, to study it, to meet with others doing the same, and then practice the lessons the stories teach us.
Noah’s story may seem outlandish, but the message—no, make that plural—message are there for today just as much as they were there for over 5,000 years. Share the story so others can learn, too.
My project is not done. I have so much more to add; to learn. I continue to look at Noah’s story for more messages. Today, though, the flood from the social media has exhausted me. I need to stop listening for a while and get back to my project so I can learn more what the Bible teaches us, and I can pay attention to what God is telling me.
Dear God, all knowing, patient and forgiving.
Speak to me through the words of scripture.
Speak to me through the Holy Spirit.
Give me the skill to defend myself from the floods.
Guide me in sharing the messages from scripture.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.