When it rains, it pours. Last week, my wife Felida was looking on her Facebook page when she saw that her cousins in the Philippines were stranded on the second floor of their home during a terrible flood. They had small children with them and were using Facebook to call for help. Nobody could get to them, but thankfully the waters receded by the next day and they were okay.
Last week, three separate typhoons hit the Philippines in succession, and so the Manilla area flooded. This is nothing new, just as hurricanes are nothing new on the East Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States. In fact, Filipino homes used to be built on stilts so that they could stay above water when the floodwaters came. They aren’t built that way anymore, so residents know to just keep their heads above water and survive.
That’s been 2020 in the United States too. Between Covid19, and protests, and a tense election season, and divisions in our denomination, and hurricane floodwaters, you just keep your head above water and survive.
A long time ago, God was growing tired of humanity’s wickedness and self-centeredness. People refused to honor God with the way they lived their lives, and they refused to love their neighbors. As told in Genesis 6-9, only one family, Noah’s family, was paying attention enough to hear God’s warning that a terrible flood was coming. So Noah and his family built an ark and loaded up the animals; they kept their head above water, and they survived.
After a long time, the floodwaters started to recede, and the ark came to rest upon a mountaintop. Noah sent out a raven, but it could not find anyplace to land, so Noah knew it wasn’t time to come out of the ark yet.
After a while longer, Noah sent out a dove, but it could not find a place to land, so Noah knew the flood hadn’t receded yet.
After a while longer, Noah sent out the dove again, and this time it came back with an olive leaf. A small sign that dry land was appearing. A small sign of new life and new hope. A small sign that Noah and his family could begin again.
It seems like a good time for Thanksgiving. It’s not going to be the Thanksgiving we want; travel is hard, and large family gatherings are dangerous. But it’s a good time for Thanksgiving, even a small and uneventful Thanksgiving.
This Thanksgiving I invite you to take some time to notice the small signs of new life and new hope in the world.
A dove. An olive leaf. The opportunity to begin again.
Thanks for listening –