A Bow in the Clouds

A Bow in the Clouds

Genesis 9:8-17 (NRSVue)

Forty is a number you often see in Scripture. It rained for forty days and forty nights when Noah, his family, and the animals were in the ark. Moses was a shepherd forty years before God appeared to him in the burning bush.  Moses met with God on Mt. Sinai for forty days and nights. Israel wandered in the desert for forty years. Goliath taunted Israel for forty days before young David challenged him with his slingshot. Jesus’ wilderness temptation after his baptism lasted forty days and forty nights. After Jesus’ resurrection and before his Ascension, Jesus spent forty days visiting others and teaching about the kingdom of God. Can you guess how long Lent is? Forty days. The number forty is symbolic for times of spiritual testing and challenge. Making it through this forty-day season of adversity has a way of growing you that nothing else can. So Lent is our wilderness time to lean upon God and one another in deep and meaningful ways, to allow God do his work through our time of testing, both individually and collectively as a church. The good news is that these forty days of challenge is designed for our growth, not just to make life difficult or unpleasant. Let’s redeem and use this time together to humble ourselves, learn, grow, and be stretched spiritually and relationally. We have the hope of Easter ahead of us, but let’s not fast forward the gift of the forty days of Lent.

Sermon Art: “Noah and the Rainbow” by Marc Chagall


Worship Services (YouTube video links)


February 18, 2024

  • 8:30 am – Alternative Worship Service Bulletin (click) 
  • 11:00 am – Traditional Worship Service Bulletin (click)

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Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever had a personal “40 Day Experience?”
  2. Why is it that our deepest lessons learned often times come from challenging seasons in our lives?
  3. Noah and his family made it through the 40 days and nights of rain. When they come out of the ark and God speaks, how is it like a second creation, a re-creation of God’s words to Adam and Eve in the beginning of Genesis?
  4. If God didn’t give the “bow in the clouds” as a sign of the covenant, how do you think Noah would feel each time the skies became cloudy and it started to rain?
  5. Who in addition to Noah does God make this covenant or pledge with?
  6. In light of Noah, what does the symbol of the rainbow teach you?
  7. Another theme in this passage is that God “remembers.” How does this truth about God comfort you in challenging times?

Rev. John Tittle




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