Here at St Peter’s, Yateley we’re looking forward to our new vicar, Revd Andy Edmunds, arriving with his family in July. It will have been twelve months since our previous vicar left and during that time we’ve worked hard to heal differences, develop our values work and bind ourselves together as a community that may worship in different ways, but has a focus on life in unity and community.
We had an excellent Easter with great services on Good Friday and Easter Day which attracted numbers that were significantly up on the last couple of years. Theologically though, dropping straight from Easter celebrations into a summer sermon series on Heroes of Faith in the Old Testament, seemed a bit jarring.
Then, as I prepared to preach about the obedience of Noah, I realised that of course there are several links between the story of God’s judgement through the flood and his faithfulness to Noah and his family, and the story of the new covenant brought about by the resurrection of our Lord.
However, I did struggle with one thing. The brief from those that set the sermon series was to talk about the obedience of Noah ‘in the face of ridicule’. Now I’m quite happy to use the imagination to bring Bible stories alive, and develop teaching ideas, so I’m not sure why I got so hung up on this, but I don’t see the ridicule as Biblical – I can’t find it in the scripture (not even by inference). Yes, there’s much mention of violence and corruption, but not ridicule.
Also, if you take the story of Noah in some some sort of ‘historic’ and scientific context (there were massive floods during the early history of man and some reputable people have done research on this) then populations were sparse, and communities small. There may not have many folk around to ridicule Noah.
So, in this instance I felt I had to set that teaching idea aside, and instead I went for the idea that we are all called by God to be heroes, and in fact to build an ark for each of our communities – a place of safety in which we welcome people, and from which we release people back into the world to live out God’s new covenant through Christ.
For what it’s worth, the sermon (which also uses Hebrews 11) is here: Sermon Genesis 6v9-22 and Hebs 11v1-7
I’d welcome your thoughts on the ridicule issue please.