“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, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison 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 persons, were saved through water.” (I Peter 3:18 – 20)
Having just considered the story of Noah, it is easier to conceive of Jesus going to those segments of humanity that died in the flood without knowing that they died in sinfulness. I am not sure that “patience” is word I would use. But then I am not sure the the opposite, impatience, is correct either. It does speak to the attribute of Yahweh of setting down certain expectations of the called and chosen people who were brought to Canaan, and were given that land as the promised land. Just like the people of Noah’s time, the Hebrews turned Israelites & Judahites made many wrong turns.
I was thinking, after I wrote my reflections yesterday, there were a lot more restarts than I had accounted for. After Moses there was Abraham. And when his descendants were brought out of Egypt, that was like a restart. And, there was the waters of the Red Sea that saved them. There was Samuel, who lead to the revealing of the shepherd David who became King David. There was Elijah and Elisha who both slapped some water around. And there was John the Baptist who used the Jordan river to save a large group of people. Actually if you look at it. The Divine is a Lord God of Restarts.
“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, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.” (Verses 21 – 22)
Having made this realization, I no longer think it so odd to go through Lent over and over. Yes, beloved reader, some church years/lectionary years I have wondered what meaning the journey of Lent can have year after year. Have we as Christians so badly lost our way in the previous 365 odd days that we need to bow our heads and receive the ashes from last year? But if our Lord is the God of restarts, resets, renewing, refreshing – as well as the God of redemption – then yes, we have to go through re-examination! What a lovely experience if we discover that we have held the course and remained true to authentic Christian beliefs. But we wouldn’t know that if we did not submit ourselves to the process and journey of Lent.
With that lesson and motivation firmly in front of us, let us continue the journey of Lent, and look forward to the refreshing “waters” we find along the way! Shalom & Selah!