Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him. (Genesis 7:1-5)
In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark. (Genesis 8:13-19)
And 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: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 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. (Genesis 9:12-15)
If you read my ‘Thought for the day’ last week you will know that I like planning ahead, so you can imagine just how delighted I was when last December, after a morning service, Helen said to me “Can we talk about Groove on the Green, which is planned to take place next July?” This puts me in my comfort zone, starting to think about what we would be doing some seven months ahead of the actual event taking place. We decided that it would be good to have a theme around creation and our responsibility for looking after the wonderful planet that God created for us. Helen gave me a project to work on; I was to create a large piece of artwork, maybe a wall hanging, around the moment in Genesis 8 when Noah’s family and all the animals leave the ark, which the children would be able to complete on the day of the event.
The first thing I had to do was decide exactly what I would need to prepare in advance and what the children would do on the day. I decided that it would be good to have the children colour in or paint the animals leaving the ark. This meant I needed to draw and cut out lots of different animals, in pairs of male and female, for the children to colour. The difficult task was limiting the number of animals to draw. As I selected different animals I would look up images of them to help me with my drawings. It was quite an awe inspiring task, looking at God’s creation. The animals were of all different sizes and no two of them were alike, even when they were the same type of animal; they were all individuals.
Even when I had completed my pictures I was aware that I had only scratched the surface of the vast number of animals that God has created on this planet. As I was drawing them I reflected both on their beauty, for each in their own way is beautiful, but also their incredible diversity. Our God was able to create all these different animals but let’s not forget that in the ark was also Noah and his family, for he created us too. We too are incredibly beautiful and wonderfully diverse and created by God.
Father God, we marvel at your creation that we see all around us. May we never forget how wonderful a creator you are.