Monday, January 18, 2010

Ark and Spirit

Monday, January 18, 2010 -- Week of 2 Epiphany, Year Two
The Confession of St. Peter the Apostle

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer)

The Readings for Monday of 2 Epiphany, p. 945
Psalms 25 (morning) 9, 15 (evening
Genesis 8:6-22
Hebrews 4:14 - 5:6
John 2:23 - 3:15
The Readings for The Confession of St. Peter, p. 996
Morning Prayer Evening Prayer
Psalms 66, 67 Psalms 118
Ezekiel 3:4-11 Ezekiel 34:11-16
Acts. 10:34-44 John 21:15-22

I chose the readings for Monday of 2 Epiphany

The stories of the flood (there are two versions woven together) speak of God's frustration with the corruption of the creation and a determined solution to drown the earth and to start over. At the end of the process, (in the Yahwist version) God recognizes that the flood did not work to change the basic problem, "for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth." So God decides to live with that reality and work with fallen humanity. Then God promises to uphold the basic agricultural rhythms of seasons and days.

The book of Hebrews sees the High Priesthood of Jesus as a new and better divine solution for our corruption and sin. Jesus is our great High Priest, who knows us so intimately -- "one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin." Jesus intercedes for us, and Jesus' sacrifice and exaltation to the throne of God gives us intimate access to the heart of God and to God's mercy and compassion for us. This is the new solution for the problem of humanity.

In John's gospel we have a different reference to the waters. The earlier Noah-story spoke of the corruption of all flesh and the destruction of the flesh through the waters of flood. This Nicodemus-story speaks of those born of the flesh and invites them to be "born of water and Spirit." (The word "Spirit" can also be translated "wind.") To be born of water and wind is to be born from above, or born anew. One who is born from above follows the wind of the Spirit which blows where it chooses. It is a new way of starting over. It is a different form of living in the ark.

I am reminded of my teacher Alan Jones' prayer that he used each morning as he settled into his period of silence with God.

In your hands we rest
In the cup of whose hands sailed an ark
Rudderless, without mast.

In your hands we rest

Who was to make of the aimless wandering of the Ark
A new beginning for the world.

In your hands we rest

Ready and content this day.


Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117

An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location --

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

Visit our web site at

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 2:12 PM, Anonymous janet l graige said...

another's prayer -

Born of water, wind and spirit
Born of light unmanifest

Awake and take delight
in one's very own soul -
vast, infinite, unknown, mysterium.

Center on this wide spiritual plateau,
open view to eternal,
where even silence rests.

Amen, Janet

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Oh, I like this, Janet.

That last phrase - "where even silence rests" - really opens one up to a quiet stillness.



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