Me, you AND….
Occasionally I read through something in the Bible and I say to myself things like,
“Has this always been here?”
“Why haven’t I seen this before?”
“How could I not have I never heard a sermon on this?”
The following is such a passage from Genesis 9. This, BTW, is NOT some obscure passage that no one reads, this is the RAINBOW passage that even the kiddies hear about from their first days in church.
“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you AND WITH EVERY LIVING CREATURE that was with you – the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you – EVERY LIVING CREATURE ON EARTH. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’
And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you AND EVERY LIVING CREATURE with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me AND THE EARTH. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you AND ALL LIVING CREATURES OF EVERY KIND. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God AND ALL LIVING CREATURES OF EVERY KIND ON THE EARTH.’
So God said to Noah, ‘This is a sign of the covenant I have established between me AND ALL LIFE ON THE EARTH.'”
Could it be any more obvious? Six times (count them yourself) the story emphatically mentions that this covenant, agreement, alliance, is a 3-way deal between God, us, and all other life. It really surprises me, seeing that the Noah/rainbow story is SO very well known and the idea of covenant is SO important in our Christian narrative, that we haven’t been drawing the obvious conclusions.
Also, this is NOT just drawing implications from a single obscure phrase, this is in the first and foundational book of our Biblical library. Could it be more evident that the author of this text was bending over backwards to make a point? A point that we’ve missed for centuries.
SINCE we are in a three way covenant, then from our human perspective in the alliance, there should be two fundamental parts to our commitment in the relationship: loving/worshiping/following God AND loving/caring/sustaining/ the other creatures and all other life on earth.
I don’t know about you, but I need to change some things in the way I’ve been treating the earth and other creatures.