Translation from the Book

Ὁ Θεός στήν Παλαιά Διαθήκη, Βοήθημα Κατωτέρου Κατηχητικοῦ Α΄,

ἐκδ. «Χριστιανική Ἐλπίς» Ὀρθόδοξη Ἀδελφότητα, Θεσσαλονίκη 2015, σσ. 25-29


Genesis 4:25-26; 6:1-9:17

   The rainbow is a fascinating sight! As soon as it makes its appearance in the sky, we rush to see and admire it. Do you know that it is actually connected with a historical event we can be find in the Holy Bible?
   Many years ago, there were only two families that lived on earth: the descendants of Cain, the “Cainites”, who were wicked and evil, like their ancestor, and the descendants of Seth. Seth was the first child that God gave Adam and Eve after Abel’s death. He was pious and kind like Abel. His descendants, the “Sethites”, were virtuous people devoted to God, too.
   As time passed, however, since the “Sethites” begun to marry women out of Cain’s lineage, unfortunately, everyone drifted toward evil. There was only one family that stood out, because they retained their faith and love to God. This was Noah’s family.
   One day, God called upon Noah and told him:
   - The earth is filled with people’s sins. The time has come for me to destroy them, all living creatures and plants. You, however, will make an ark, an enormous ship. You will build it to have three floors and be separated in compartments. Cover it inside and outside with pitch. Then enter the ark with your sons – Noah had three sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth – your wife and your sons’ wives. Take, two of every kind, a male and a female of birds, animals and every creeping creature. Store plenty of food for yourselves and for them.
   Noah immediately begun building the ark with eagerness. But, while he was obeying to God’s will, the rest of mankind continued doing works of evil without any regret. They would even mock Noah but he pretended not to listen. The only thing that mattered to him was this: To do what God had ordered. He was building the ark for one hundred and twenty years and continued advising people to repent their ways. Their hearts, however, had been hardened and they paid no attention to his words. They kept becoming worse day by day.
  kataklysmos When the ark was finally ready, God informed Noah: “In seven days, the earth will flood. It will be raining for forty days and forty nights”. And so it happened! Right after Noah entered the ark along with his family and all of the animals, exactly as God had asked him to, the terrible flood begun. The waterfalls of the sky opened up! For forty days and forty nights, the rain continued to fall relentlessly. Water covered the surface of the earth, even the tallest of mountains. Everything drowned, people and animals! No living creature survived that dreadful downpour. No living creature, except for those eight people – Noah’s family – along with the animals they had gathered inside that big ark. The ark continued to drift and as the waters went higher, it rose higher, too.
   Eventually, the rainstorm stopped. A strong wind blew, the clouds withdrew and the skies cleared up. The water begun to slowly subside. It took over a hundred days for land to appear. The earth looked like an endless sea. One day, the ark finally rested on solid ground atop mountain Ararat, a tall mountain in Armenia. Several days later, the summits of other mountains came into view. Noah let a raven fly outside, but it did not return. He, then, let a dove fly outside. The dove came back and seven days later he let her out again. When she returned, she was holding an olive tree branch in her beak, a sign that the waters had decreased enough for trees to appear. Seven days passed and he sent her out again, but she did not return to him anymore. Noah then, removed the ark’s covering and saw that the waters had completely receded. It had been over ten months since the flood had broken out.
   Noah, however, did not rush to get out of the ark. He was waiting for God’s commandment. Two months later, when the earth dried up, God commanded that everyone should go out of the ark. It was exactly one year since the day they had entered the ark. As soon as pious Noah and his family set their feet on land, they set an altar and offered a thanksgiving sacrifice to express their gratitude to their God and savior. They prayed and gave glory to God from the bottom of their hearts, for He kept them safe inside the ark and saved them from the terrible flood.

The Church is the ark of salvation

   A flood like that one will never happen again. God promised this to Noah and his family, when they got out of the ark. He even marked this covenant with a sign: the rainbow. We often have a chance to see it after a heavy rain and it is there to remind us of God’s promise.
   We are in danger, however, of a new kind of deluge. What is this deluge that threatens us? It is the sinfulness that rules our world; the impiety and the immorality, the lies and the hatred. Evil has flooded our world and seeks to sweep us all away. Who is going to be the one to preserve piety, innocence, honesty and kindness? It is the one who secures themselves inside the ark of salvation. Yes, even today there is an ark of salvation that can protect and save us. Do you know what this ark of salvation is? It is the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
   We all entered this holy ark the day we got baptized. We remain safe and sound inside it when we take part in the Divine Sacraments. When we go to church every Sunday, when we go to confession and when we receive Christ’s Body and Blood. When we gather in our Sunday school where we learn the words of the Holy Bible.
   Let’s set a new goal today: To never miss the Holy Liturgy and Sunday school on Sundays! In this way, we will keep ourselves safe within the ark of salvation, the Church, which gives shelter and joy to all of us!
   Even if some people approach you to mock and make fun of you, remember Noah’s story. The people of his time laughed at him. They made fun of him for being the only one who believed to the one, true God. Still, Noah did what God asked him to. He did not waver; he was not affected by the sinful life surrounding him. For this, only Noah and his family survived that horrible flood.

From this world’s flooding waters
I ask, Lord, liberation.
My life I will keep safe
Inside Your Church’s ark of salvation


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