top of page
Pastoral Scene

First Sunday of Lent
18 February 2024

PREPARATION

Genesis 9.8-17

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ 12 God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ 17 God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’

 REFLECTION

This year the first reading has to do with the covenant God makes with Noah, but it is not just Noah. God says between Noah and every living creature. The arc, the rainbow, is a sign to animals as well as humans. Do they notice and care, you may say no, but the Bible actually approaches nature differently to the way we see it. Why is this the first reading of Lent? You will find the lynch pin in the second reading, the 1 Letter of Peter. The flood was about washing away the sinful people, God making a clean start. As a promise to Noah God would not do this again. Sadly, this did not solve the problems of the flesh. How would God overcome this problem?

Psalm 25.1-10

1 In you, O Lord my God, have I put my hope:

in you have I trusted, let me not be ashamed,

nor let my enemies triumph over me.

2 Let none who wait for you be put to shame:

but let those that break faith

be confounded and gain nothing.

3 Show me your ways, O Lord:

and teach me your paths.

4 Lead me in the ways of your truth, and teach me:

for you are the God of my salvation.

5 In you have I hoped all the day long:

because of your goodness, O Lord.

6 Call to mind your compassion and your loving-kindness:

for they are from of old.

7 Remember not the sins of my youth,

nor my transgressions:

but according to your mercy think on me.

8 Good and upright is the Lord:

therefore will he direct sinners in the way.

9 The meek he will guide in the path of justice:

and teach the humble his ways.

10 All the paths of the Lord are faithful and true:

for those who keep his covenant and his commandments.

 

1 Peter 3.18-22

18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. 21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

 REFLECTION

 Peter writes to his readers about the link between the flood of Noah and baptism. This act of washing away of a corrupt conscience and the bringing of the God conscience. How have we been renewed by our baptism? How does this new conscientiousness manifest itself? Most important is that this new consciousness is made possible by Jesus 'death and resurrection. 

 

Gospel Reading

Gospel

Mark 1.9-15

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ 12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’

REFLECTION

We have looked at how baptism is connected to the flood and that baptism is about washing away the sinful nature. The question is why did Jesus need to be baptized? In Matthews Gospel John questions Jesus why he should baptize Jesus not the other way around. Jesus says, 'Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.' Jesus didn't know either, but he knew it was necessary. There are varying perspectives on Baptism, one thing that we can hold, is that there is a need for it. In this act God the Father and the Holy Spirit make their first appearance. I believe it was the beginning of the union and that his movement to the desert for forty days was to develop this relationship. The period of Lent is about our preparation to celebrate Easter. What will make this Easter new and fresh for us?

bottom of page