As I mentioned in my last post, I traveled a bit these past few days (Friday & Saturday). After spending the night in Selinsgrove after the Confirmation, I headed toward Lancaster, Pennsylvania (just under two hours drive) to meet up with our Junior Youth Ministry youngsters along with some parents who had departed Saturday morning by chartered bus. They visited the town of Bird-In-Hand (we have some quaint names and communities) before I met up with them for the activity of the day. We went to the Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster to attend the production of the biblical musical production of NOAH. Sight and Sound is a magnificent complex and theater that produces lavish biblical epics that tell the story and inspire the soul to respond to the love of God. They have done Creation, the Christmas Story, an Easter play, Daniel, Ruth (one of my favorites) and this Fall, Jonah, among others. A story about Noah obviously has many live animals that are a part of the cast, which excited the kids. It was great, and all of us at whatever the age, enjoyed the production.
As they were setting the stage (excuse the pun) for the story, their description of society at Noah's time sounded a great deal like the present age. Apart from Noah and his family, there were few others who had remained faithful to the Lord God, who had a personal relationship with him based on trust and love, and who had not bought into the scepticism and cynicism of a secular society. For most there was no need of God since they were all "good as god" in their way of thinking. God was placed at the periphery of life. God and his followers were irrelevant. They were ignored, ridiculed and then persecuted. Thus God needed to "start over", to wipe out the hard of heart and begin afresh. Thus the flood, and the ark, and the promise to Noah and his family - to all who had a place in their hearts for God - that they would be saved. And thus the reality of a new beginning, a fresh start. Today's reading spoke of the Lord saying, see, I am making all things new. That newness is found in the commandment to love one another, just as it was found in the olive branch that the dove brought back to the ark - the promise of peace, of new life, of love.
The message of Noah is timeless, but extremely important today. At the end of the play, they lead us from Noah to the present day through Jesus, and invite people to enter into new life through the salvation won for us by Christ. The actor portraying Jesus reminds the audience that he is the gate, he is the door, he is the way to that promised new life. It was a great "altar call" that challenges the watcher to find salvation. As they announced that they had counselors available if anyone wanted to speak to them, one of our group commented that we were ahead of the game, since we brought our own counselor (me). I smiled.
The day ended with a good dinner (family style in Amish Country) and the long bus ride home. It was a day of blessings.