A Family in ‘Lockdown’
As we have been reading through the book of Genesis this Great Lent, we have now finished reading chapters 5-9, where the towering figure of Noah is featured. Very much indeed could be said here about Noah and the cataclysmic flood, but for our purposes today let’s focus on the meaning of the name Noah.
In Genesis 5:28-29 we read the following: “Now when Lamech was one hundred and eighty-eight years old, he begot a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, ‘He will give us rest from our work and the toil of our hands.'” This prophecy of Lamech points to the relief that Noah’s faith brought to him and his family, as St. Paul tells us in Hebrews 11:7: “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household.”
We should take note that even though there were “events as yet unseen,” namely, the coming great flood of the whole world, Noah did not trust his bodily eyes or the predictions of men, but relied on the eyes of faith and obeyed God’s word. And due to his faith and trust in God, Noah constructed a home for his family, a home that saved them. And even though they were cloistered together in the ark for an entire year, they didn’t lose heart but waited on God.
We can look to Noah and his family in our current situation as a model of steadfast hope. They most certainly did not have internet, or phones, or TV, or YouTube, etc., etc. They had one another, the animals to take care of, and above all they had prayer and God as their constant companion.
Let us now, more than ever, look to the new Noah, Jesus Christ, who says to us: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Metropolitan Nathanael has given his priests permission to celebrate the divine services, with one chanter and one altar server. Let us take comfort, even if we cannot all physically gather in the church yet, in knowing that the Eucharist and all the scheduled services are being offered on behalf of our entire St. Mary’s family.