God looked down on the Earth and saw the great wickedness of man. He saw a world of loneliness, suffering, and death. So He summoned the clouds, the wind, and the rain and He sent a flood. Still today we look out and see the dark clouds of loneliness, we feel the cold wind of suffering, and we taste the bitter rain of death. We see storms coming, so naturally we begin to build arks of our own. Like Noah, we take all that we consider to be good, hold it close to us, and put up walls to keep out the nastiness of the world around us. And just when we’re safe in our ark, God sends a flood.
But wait, didn’t God promise he would never send another flood? Isn’t that what the bow in the sky was supposed to represent? Actually, no. God promises “that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood.” God never promised that there would not be another flood, only that “there shall not be another flood to devastate the Earth.” So this new flood that God has sent is a different kind of flood. It’s not a flood of destruction and devastation but a flood of purification and salvation. This new flood is the flood of baptismal waters that flows throughout the world bringing hope to the lonely, comfort to the suffering, and victory over death.
Isn’t it ironic that Noah was saved by avoiding the waters of the flood, yet we are saved by drowning in the waters of baptism? Isn’t it ironic that God promised that “never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood,” so instead he sends the flood of baptismal waters to spiritually destroy our sinfulness? Isn’t it ironic that it is the walls of Noah’s ark that saved him from death, yet the walls we build in the ark’s of our lives are the very cause of our deaths? Brothers, through our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving this Lent we must tear down our arks of pride and selfishness, and we must jump into the flood of our baptisms. It’s only in drowning in these waters and crying out for help that Christ will lift us up into his heavenly kingdom.
I’ve got one more flood I’d like to tell you about. The most horrifically beautiful flood of all. This is the flood of warm, red blood that flows from the side of our crucified Lord. It streams down from Calvary and rushes over this very altar. Brothers, isn’t it about time that we start drowning?