Lent

Build me an Ark – 25 February 2021

You are the Beloved of God.

People spend a lot of time and energy in their youth trying to work out who they are, what their purpose is, and throughout life our identity and our reason for living and our place in the world is questioned by us, our parents, our colleagues, society at large. A great deal of time and energy is spent in trying to fit in, to be accepted. Who am I and what am I doing on earth are two of the greatest questions asked in the hearts and minds of people.

In our generation fame and fortune are seen as giving us worth. What we do is seen as the measure of who we are. Philosophers such as Descartes introduced the notion, “I think therefore I am.” Many people adopt the philosophy, “I have, therefore I am.” And all too many people run away from the question all together and become addicted to self-loathing and find identity as victims of a cruel world.

Scripture provides multiple stores to explain our worth as people called out by God as His own. Scripture clearly and repeatedly states that we are created in God’s image and that sin has deceived us that God does not love us and that we need to earn his love and that life is just hard and unfair and broken and that there is not much we can do about it.  We focus on the floods, the plagues, the hard work, the sweat of our brow, the imprisonment of poverty and injustice. In our post- modern world “marginalised groups” from across the spectrum seem to dominate the thoughts and activities of the world as we try to overcome our sense of worthlessness.

Scripture repeatedly teaches us that our Origin, who we are, begins with God’s love. We are the beloved, our origin is not in a fallen and neglected world, our origin is the love of God. But Scripture is also clear that we doubt this, we question this, we fall prey to the temptation to doubt that God is really a loving God and we look around us at all the suffering and the hurt and the confusion and the pain and the brokenness of society and the corruption, and we say, “why would a loving God, allow all this.”

Scripture repeatedly makes it clear that God created something good and that the price of freedom means a freedom to choose, and that we need to choose life. (Deut 30:19)

Noah chose life, he built and Ark, Joseph chose life, he forgave his brothers, saw God’s plan in his adversity, Abraham choose life he left the land of Ur and walked out in faith, Moses’s mother chose life she offered her Child up to the mercy of God and built and Ark, Moses chose life he returned to Egypt to set the people free. Every time we chose obedience to God, every time we choose faith over fear, every time we chose to return to the Lord our God with all our heart and soul, we choose life.

Build me an ark and cover it inside and out ( Gen 6:14). Noah was told by God that the ark must be sealed on the inside. Our heart must be in the right place, a pace of faith, a place of repentance, a place of seeking God. Noah was told to seal the ark on the outside – our actions must be consecrated, they must be in line with our faith as St James says  – “faith without deeds is dead.” ( James 2:20).

You are the Beloved, created for a life with God, your life is sealed by a Covenant, washed in the blood of the Lamb, justified by faith. In the words of that wonderful song.

“you called me out upon the waters, your sovereign hand will be my guide. And there I find you in the mystery, you’ve never failed and you won’t start now. And I will call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves when ocean’s rise, my soul will rest in your embrace, for I am yours.”

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ( 1 Cor 1:18)

Build an ark of faith, for all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Question: How do you define yourself? Who do you say you are, is it who God says you are, and who are you going to believe?

Let us pray:

Holy God, you have called us by name and made us your own. Teach us to believe that we are the beloved. Teach us to see that our identity is in Christ our saviour, the creator, and perfector of our faith. Amen.

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