23 February OS 2018: Thursday of the Third Week of Lent; S. Polycarp of Smyrna, Bishop-Martyr
The first reading at Vespers today is Genesis 7:11-8:3.
In few and simple words, today’s reading recounts an unimaginable catastrophe, the catastrophe of all earth history, the flood of Noah. God lifts His mighty hand and destroys all that has breath, save those in the Ark. We have grown used to the story, and we do not think about it much. If we did, we would feel our real size, our nothingness before God. He is the Almighty, and none can withstand His will.
At the same time, He is unexpectedly close to us, closer than we are to ourselves. Note the end of verse 7:16: “And the LORD God shut the ark from without upon him.” Amid this terrifying display of His total and irresistible might to make and destroy all things, the LORD walks up to the hatch and shuts His friend safe inside. Thus He makes clear, “Do not fear: It is I who take care of you.”
In verse 8:1, we read that God “remembered” Noah and all the beasts. God also remembers us, with His remembrance that never alternates with forgetfulness. He is thinking about us at every moment. If He did not, we would cease to exist, for in Him only “…do we live and move and have our being.” His Word (Logos with a big “L”) is the blueprint of our existence, and the Breath of His mouth gives us life. In the infinite Mind of the Father there is a logos (with a little “l”) corresponding to each of us, a little blueprint of each unique existence. From Him did we come, and to Him will we return: “…unto Thee shall all flesh come (Psalm 64:2).” This should make us feel so very small, when we think on how little justice we do to God, Whose plan for us is so very grand.
Let us, this Great Lent, remember Him Who remembers us, and realize who we are.