top of page

never again

I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood. - Genesis 9:11

For thousands of years, in different religions and countless cultures spread across the planet, flood stories have shaped our understanding of human history. Most of these stories, regardless of the time or place they come from, have key elements in common:

A deity disgusted with human behavior. Lots of rain. A boat. A hero. Sacrifice and appeasement. And one big start-over for everyone.

The story of Noah’s ark has it all, but that’s not why we keep telling it. We love it for the surprise, love-story ending: that when the waters finally recede and everyone steps out of the ark onto dry land, it is God who repents.

God, the maker of heaven and earth, has a change of heart and mind. God, who had detested the wickedness of humankind unto destruction, says, “Uh-uh, not doing that again.” God, who had declared all creation good, makes a covenant with the earth and every living thing, for all future generations. To seal the deal, God the promise-maker sets a bow in the sky. Never again.

Reconsidered during Lent, the story of Noah, the ark, and a repentant God can remind us that we don’t have to be flooded out to start over. We needn’t suffer unspeakable loss to have a change of heart. Sure, admitting our wrongdoing isn’t easy, and changing our behavior is hardest of all. But here’s some good news: If God can do it, so can we.


God of the rainbow, I’ve done wrong. I’ve hurt people. Forgive me, and help me to turn around. Thank you for showing me how.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.

March 28, 2019

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

John 9:1-11 (MSG) “I do not know what darkness means to someone who is blind, but I am beginning to understand that light has as many meanings as dark.” This is what Barbara Brown Taylor said in her b

John 15:1-9 (NRSVUE) This is the second season of Lent I have let the daily reflections of John Pavlovitz lead me into each new day. These reflections from his devotional, Rise, work to remind the rea

Genesis 12:1-4a (MSG) The second church I served—the Ogden Baptist Church—is a small church located in the town of Ogden, west of Rochester but still in Monroe County. The center of the town of Ogden

bottom of page