Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Advent: Week 1 Day 3

Today we have Noah's Ark, after the flood, with the rainbow. The Ark is a very important emblem, and we shall see it twice more on our Tree...

"And the dove vanished, and Noah and his family and all the animals of the ark went out. And Noah built an altar, and offered sacrifice.... And God said, 'See, I set my bow in the sky, to remind you of my promise...'"

The rainbow. I know the arc of the rainbow is terrible, and I forgot to check whether the colours progress correctly. It's a curious question: had there never been a rainbow before, or had no man ever noticed, or what? Why was THAT rainbow remembered differently? Or was it simply because it appeared THEN, and from that point on, this particular meteor was to serve as a sign of God's promise?

The Ark. The great box-like ship, about which God provided rather specific details - its size, what to make it from, its three decks, a door and a window. We'll see the second ark, for which God again gave detailed specs, in a few days. We do not get to hear the details of the third ark, but they are summarized in a brief sentence, and we shall see that one later on - only in the last century and a half or so have some of those amazing details been learned! Does the ark still exist? There are stories and reports of something strange on Mount Ararat, and it is something still to be investigated.

The Flood. Another something to be investigated; I will not attempt to explore the data now. It is another (third?) appearance of the "water theme" which recurs throughout the Bible, and about which I have written at length earlier in this blogg. The water, even as symbol, has so many uses (just as St. Francis tells us in his "Canticle of the Creatures"!) Here it cleanses, and so in that sense also rescues - though that is paradoxical - for Noah would have perished as well, if he had not obeyed God and built the Ark - perished, not from the Flood, but from the evils of Man, which is far, far worse. Hmm. Do you hear a itinerant carpenter saying something: "Better for him to have a great millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the sea, then to be led astray..." But this good man - who was also a CARPENTER - cut down some trees, and built a big box and all but buried himself in a watery grave - and so rescued the whole world.

(Please remember I am paraphrasing, and not quoting; we are not doing a rigorous study but a kind of sketchy contemplation. Another way of looking at this schematic "Jesse Tree" is that these are the "mysteries" of an Old-Testament "rosary"...)

Sorry to digress just slightly, but this talk of the Flood suggests a hilarious Chesterton quote, which is not his own, but his good friend Mr. Belloc's, and I have to add it to give you something else to ponder, which the evolvers clearly haven't (or won't!): "...nobody needs to be told that in a flood fish live and cattle die. The question is, How soon do cattle turn into fish?" [quoted in GKC's The Thing CW3:310]


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