July 31, 2022
Some of the feedback I have heard about the design and color of our new church is that it looks like an Ark! And I can certainly see what folks are speaking about with our windows in the nave up 15 feet from the floor and the brown wood exterior siding. And after all, the Orthodox Church is the Ark of Salvation. St. Jerome says: “This is the Ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails.” (Saint Jerome, Letter 15:2)
As a young boy I enjoyed listening to Grandma Hazel’s vinyl recording of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing about how Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah obeyed God and built this vessel and brought on board a remnant of all things living for survival. As we read in Genesis: Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. (Gen 7:1-6)
Well there were a lot of terrible things happening back in those days. The human race was in danger of disappearing from the face of the Earth because it continually chose un-Godly things. Mankind was going to eliminate mankind. St. Bede describes it as this: “And just as, after the ark was made all those creatures that were saved were brought into it, the flood came and and carried off all those that were outside of it, so when all people who have been predestined for eternal life have entered the Church, the end of the world will come, and all the people found outside the Church will perish. And in this sense, the Ark clearly signifies the Church, Noah signifies the Lord that builds the Church in his saints, and the flood signifies the end of the world or the Last Judgement.” (Saint Bede, On Genesis, p. 173)
The Synod of Jerusalem stated in 1672 records it as such: “As none can sail across the sea without a boat, so thou canst not steer through this world and its billows, and escape them, without a boat, which is the Church of Christ. Many endeavour to sail across it [the sea]; such are the impious and all the heretics, who are not within the Church of God, but they are all drowned. When God made the Ark, all that were within escaped, while those that were without perished. The Church of God is this Ark.” (The Synod of Jerusalem , p. 25)
In our Epistle reading from Romans this morning, it directs us: “We then who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. For let each of us be pleasing his neighbor for the good, toward building up.” [Rom. 15:1] Our Ark has plenty of room and we need to about our Fathers’ business of saving people from the floodwater. There is still hope for everyone and in every situation. After all, we are the Myrrhbearers! And when the times comes that we out grow this church to the Glory of God, we will build a new one! May you and I find grace in the eyes of the Lord and fill up His ark!!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 7-31-2022
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