Finishing up week one here...feels pretty good. I think I could get used to spending time reading scripture every day.
We finish up the flood story. There is nothing super surprising here, after all, the flood story is one of the most told stories. We have numerous children's books in our own bookshelf devoted to this story, and most of them are pretty accurate. But we often forget that this is one of those stories that is not entirely literal, and has a lot of what we call typology in it. Certainly, we can believe that there was a flood event. Whether it was truly global, or local but on a large enough scale to seem global is up for debate. But really, here we have a prefigurement of baptism. Purification by water. Being saved through water. And a covenant coming about!
The last part of this reading is interesting, with the drunkenness of Noah. At first glance, it appears that Ham gets the short straw. He walks in and finds his Father naked, then goes and tells his brothers. Then his brothers walk in backwards and cover their father. It would seem that Ham has done his father a favor...but his father curses Ham and Canaan! What's up with that? After all, Noah is the one who got drunk.
After some reflection, though, it would seem that Ham's error is telling anyone at all. Perhaps he himself should have simply quietly covered his father and held his tongue. There was no need to involve his brothers...Ham is guilty of the sin of detraction in sharing information, though true, that his brothers didn't really need.
I love the descriptive words chosen in this Psalm. The poetry of them, even in translation, is amazing. The Psalmist here lays himself out and offers himself, his life, if he has not pleased God, and then asks God to deliver him. My favorite here are verses 14 and 15...I just love the imagery.
Further into the sermon on the mount we have nothing but the words of Jesus. Here he makes stricter some of the prohibitions regarding anger (not of the righteous variety), adultery and sins of impurity, divorce, swearing oaths, reciprocity, and tells us to love our enemies.
In addition, he gives us great wisdom to back these things up. My favorite is the idea of making friends quickly with one's accuser on the way to court and avoiding the entire ordeal that way.
We find that human language is inadequate to truly describe God. And, yet, somehow it is sufficient for our purposes, because there are limits to our intellect. So we are able to develop language that gets us as far as our intellects can go, but still remember that God is even beyond that. "Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God."