52 Weeks at the Table - Week 4In the early ages of mankind, Genesis 6 tells us, "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." And He set the limit of man's days - which had included some almost-thousand-year lifetimes - to a mere one hundred and twenty years. Then He resolutely promised to drown in water a mankind already drowning in wickedness, sparing only righteous Noah, his family, and the animals preserved on a great ship. When the flood receded, and Noah offered God a sacrifice from among the precious few animals, God blessed that family and permitted them to eat both grain and game. But He also warned them and the animals with them that in this new world, life was to be regarded as precious; and from every man and beast He would require an accounting for each life taken. And He promised never again to obliterate all life with the waters of a flood.
Luke 9 reveals that, after feeding a multitude with multiplied grain and game, the often-righteous Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. And Jesus promised to die and be the sacrifice pleasing to God, establishing a new kingdom and obliterating sin and death. So He resolutely set His face toward Jerusalem, and when He was not welcomed in Samaria, He refused to let fire be called down from heaven. For every thought of his heart was only good all the time, and Jesus had in mind bringing earth and heaven together by being suspended between them. By letting His years be limited to between perhaps 30 and 33, His intention was that a man's days would far, far exceed one hundred and twenty years.
Lord God of all creation, righteous and just, You have preserved us to this day and You save us through the waters that wash away sin. Yet we know that only the sacrifice that You made could do accomplish this. That You could do this for so many, preserved by a ship no larger than a bowsprit and a yardarm, is astounding to us - such was the power in the body of Jesus on that cross to take up again not only His life, but ours. As we share this bread, we pray that, through the One whose body it represents, You will multiply our years in Your new world, Your Kingdom. Amen.
We give you honor and glory and praise, O God, and thanksgiving for the One whose blood was acceptable to you when ours was not, for our thoughts are so often given over to evil. Through that blood, celebrated in this cup, we are no longer held accountable for lives we have wasted, and we see how precious Your gift of life truly is. May a constant recognition of its value be our blessing as we drink together, we pray through Your righteous Son. Amen.