Friday of the Fifth Week in Lent: The Promise and Challenge of the “Bow in the Clouds”

Read: Genesis 9:8, 16

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”



To be in covenant is to be in partnership. God makes promises to humans, and in turn humans make promises to God. Walter Brueggemann, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible, asserts that for Isaiah, the covenant meant

  1. that the world is not closed, fixed, or settled;
  2. that institutions can be changed and transformed;
  3. that communities of people can be practitioners of other ways of living.

Covenants are, therefore, calls to hope, calls to envision a new way of living with other people and the creation that is aligned with God’s purposes for this earth and all its creatures. We are able to hope because we have caught a glimpse of God’s intentions for this world and that glimpse encourages us to move toward making it  a reality.

Think about your consumption of resources. Look at  your schedule for a typical week. Ask yourself if the way you are living is aligned with God’s intentions for you to grow in Christ. Is there a change you can make today that would bring you more aligned to God’s purposes for your life? Is there a change you can envision for the way your community has structured its corporate life that would enable God’s reign of peace, justice and mercy to draw near?

Lent is a time for revision. Instead of letting go of chocolate, perhaps the Lenten discipline for you is a new way of being in relation with your surroundings, your companions on the Way, and your environment.


O God, our heavenly Father, you have blessed us and given us dominion over all the earth: Increase our reverence before the mystery of life; and give us new insight into your purposes for the human race, and  new wisdom and determination in making provision for its future in accordance with your will; through Jesus Christ. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer, p. 828)


Porter Taylor serves as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.