THE FORTY DAYS
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” (Gen 7: 11-12)
Here’s a strange thought. These “forty days and forty nights,” mentioned in our Church’s reading for today, during Lent, remind me of the 40 days of Lent. But is that really strange, to connect these two?
No, I don’t think so. Because Scripture, along with other parts of Tradition, like Lent, is handed down to me, so I can make connections and “recognize” One-and-the-Same God working and speaking through it, yesterday and today. Certain symbols, like “forty days,” repeat themselves here and there throughout Tradition, revealing a common language and common Source of that language, namely, God.
So, to get to my point, today I’m “connecting” the “forty days and forty nights” of rain falling upon the earth in The Great Flood with what is happening now, during Great Lent. In The Great Flood, God “blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark.” (Gen 7: 23) Now, during Lent, we are brought together in a special, extra-focused way in the ark that is the Church, experiencing a “flood” of God’s grace in the intensified prayers, fasting, and other rituals of Lent. This “flood” is meant to “blot out” from my life all that has ceased to serve God’s purpose. So I can re-focus, with others huddled together in our “ark,” on His purpose, and then move on in a God-centered manner. Lord, give me shelter today in Your ark, and blot out “every living thing,” still living in me, which has ceased to serve You. Amen!