February 14, 2018
When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. ~ Genesis 9:14-15
GOD HAS MADE A COVENANT WITH NOAH NEVER AGAIN TO bring such catastrophic flooding over the whole earth. The “sign” of that covenant is the rainbow he causes to appear in the clouds to serve as a reminder, not only for us but also for him. It may seem strange to us that God needs to be reminded of anything, given that he is not subject to the passage of time, or forgetfulness. Remembering, however, has a specialized meaning in God’s case. For him, it signifies, not a mental process, but a divine intervention. In this instance, when God “looks upon” the rainbow and “remembers the everlasting covenant,” he acts to withhold “the fountains of the great deep” from bursting open and “the windows of heaven” from opening up (Genesis 7:11). “Being remembered before the Lord” has the same significance. Once the Israelites are in the Promised Land, Moses tells them, if they “go to war… against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies” (Numbers 10:9). These very trumpets, when blown “over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings,” shall also “serve you for remembrance [anamnesis] before your God” (10:10), who will act to accept those offerings and sacrifices. This language is the background for Jesus’ words at the Last Supper. “This is my body which is given for you,” he tells his disciples in the upper room. “Do this [for the] remembrance of me [eis ten emen anamnasin]” (Luke 22:19). By taking, giving thanks for, and blessing bread and wine, as Jesus does, his disciples will offer to God the memorial of his death (1 Corinthians 11:26), causing the New Covenant to “be remembered” by his Father intervening and acting to make that same bread and wine to be the true Body and Blood of his beloved Son.