I’ve been doing a bit of taking known Bible stories and giving them a “flip” sideways. I have written a tale about Adam and Eve being bored with being shut in the Garden of Eden and wanting out which is why they succumbed to the temptation of the apple. I don’t believe it came out of the blue. ?
Anyway, yesterday I was chatting with friends about Bible stories people struggle with and how much is allegorical and how much was factual. One of those tales was Noah’s ark. So I will share my thoughts.
The world was a bad place. People were going about their daily lives selfishly and not thinking of each other. The economy was in bits, people weren’t caring for each other. There were wars and rumors of wars and the fears of climate change.
Noah was praying and asking God what should be done when God said to him “Gather your family around you, your sons and their wives, and gather a selection of animals and food for you all and go to the place I have for you.”
“But how long for,” asks Noah. “And why?”
“Just take them all and gather what you need and shut the doors,” said God
So Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives, plus a selection of animals, at least one male and one female of each kind, went to the large farmstead they had built and padlock all the gates. As soon as they had done this, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced a global pandemic. Governments across the world said people must stay at home until further notice.
One month passed and Noah and his family were getting a bit fed up of just seeing each other, of playing board games, of reading books, of making bread, so Noah asked God how long this would last and God replied, “Until it is over.” Another month passed, then another. Slowly governments start to lift the lockdowns to restart the economy. The Noah family started to kill the rapidly breeding rabbits to feed themselves and some of the carnivores. They cut the hay, milked the cows and looked to the internet to see what was going on. There was the threat of a second wave and so they waited.
Ok, you’re getting the picture. Noah went into the ark whilst God cleared up the world around them. Noah did not know what was going on as him and his family were effectively on lockdown. Noah also did not know how long they would all be in the ark and how much they would need to continue their lockdown.
As I chatted with my friends about this, I felt we’ve had this tale sanitised in too many Sunday school classes and tried to explain it away so we like the story but if we look at it as an allegory we can see the tale as relevant for our lives today. God shut a family away together for an interminable amount of time and yet was still with them. They did not know how much food to take on the ark for themselves and these animals, but there was enough.
I believe God said to me yesterday that we are like Noah and in unprecedented times for an undeterminable amount of time, but that he is with us and there is enough to keep us going.