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Learning About The Bible As An Adult: What I Learned From Noah Part Two

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The story describes Noah saying “He walked with God” which I take to mean that he walked in step with Reality, or in the Same direction as Spirit, or whatever words you’d like to use to that captures the meaning.  To me it is what makes this main character different from others in the Bible such as Jonah who walked in the opposite direction of God (which, again I take to mean he pushed against Life, he argued with Reality, he resisted the Way of Things, and so on – and of course, in Jonah’s story the consequences are laid out in creative metaphors that are wonderful to read.)

I used to go for walks with a friend around a local lake, early in the mornings.  I am remembering those walks and remembering that when people walk together, one can’t go faster than the other.  One can’t go so fast that conversation is difficult, because then it becomes a jog or fitness exercise and there is nothing wrong with that, but ahh, to enjoy

company on a walk takes time.  And when you have time to give to a walk like that, it makes everything else enjoyable too.  Now you can share the wildflowers, the world, the view and take in time to drink in the beauty and wonder about the meaning of things.  To walk with someone is a truly intimate experience.  I think of that when I think of the phrase “to walk with God” and I am reminded that it isn’t something that can be rushed. 

It means just the opposite; to me it means to take unrushed time with Life, to enjoy It’s company and to let the encounter affect everything else in my world.  I think that is how Noah managed to stay untouched by the world, because he was regularly refueling from a source of intimate, inspiring, soul nourishing company.

Living a spiritual life is about developing that time.  It includes, among other things, the tendency to take time daily to be quiet; the tendency to turn to prayer as a natural response to the events of life; a tendency to examine thought, an enjoyment of reading spiritually uplifting material; engagement with the world through service, loving kindness and giving.  To me this is walking with God, and each person does it in his/her own way.

There is another characteristic of Noah that sets him apart from others in the Bible, and certainly contrasts him with Jonah again and probably with many of us.  It says he was obedient. If I’m not mistaken it says that about him twice in the story.  It goes on to explain that he did everything just as God commanded him to do it.  I smile from ear to ear whenever I think of this part of the story, because I have a preference to do things my own way and I particularly do not like to be told what to do and I have a fondness for cutting corners.  I think of Noah as that part within us that knows what is right and does it.  Jonah, on the other hand is that part of us which knows what is right, and and doesn’t care.

noah 2Urgh, this is the part of the story I don’t enjoy.   I want the story to say that simple obedience to inner guidance makes everything perfect and easy and manageable.  Well, it’s a yes, no, both, and sort of response. This story reminds me not to be fooled by ‘get rich quick with no work schemes’ or anything that promises something for nothing and it reminds me to hang in there as best as I can.  And there are many, many times in life when I have needed to hear that message.

You may already know what it is to go against the popular way; to take a stand for yourself; to speak up for what you believe is right; to speak for your family or friends.  Maybe you already know what it’s like to take a step out of life habit that is destructive or counterproductive and if you do, you know what the story of Noah is all about already.  In a way it is the story of the necessary dying of all that which must give way before the new can be revealed.

Part Three coming soon.

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