Get In The Boat

You’re in this boat.

I’m going to say the boat is our life in Christ, though over time the boat image, the water metaphor, has done yeoman’s work for pastors immemorial — it’s our body, our life, our church, our baptism, our faith, our death. You get the idea.

Now imagine you’re the first guy to hear the anecdote. For that matter, to actually see the image. To build it yourself, in fact.

Imagine you’re Noah.

Bill Cosby did, it’s a fair funny, even to this day. There are actually three “Noah” sketches: a before, during, and after of building the ark.

Cosby’s Noah gets the call.

Before

I want you to build me an ark.

— God

He’s … unsettled … by the command. This is well before “Evan Almighty” but the movie wasn’t so far from the building of the first boat. By design of course: Noah doesn’t believe. Noah starts work. Noah complains to God about how every other human he sees reacts to this celestial whack-a-vision.

During

What’s going on? How come you want
me to do all these weird things?

— Noah

Then as he’s about to give it up for the B.C. La-Z-Boy Lounger 9000 , he hears thunder and he hears rain.

After

How long can you tread water?

— God

And by the time you hear thunder it’s too late to build the ark, but fortunately Noah already did.

And How long can you tread water becomes God’s catchphrase.

And Noah gets in the boat.

*

So now you’re in this boat.

And it’s raining.

All the time.

You made a good call, not that it was yours exactly, but that doesn’t help with the incessant thrumming of water on the roof, the smell of mold and rot, and, speaking of smells, cleaning out the animal pens — you can’t always make your sons do it.

Conventional wisdom and the quick sermon nugget suggest that by now you’re hoping (even praying) to be washed ashore, stranded on a deserted island even. And hey, that’s how stories of redemption do start sometimes; you might be wishing you were Robinson Crusoe just now. Which does not start with his shipwreck, but close enough.

[And what book would you choose if stranded on a desert island? Go with Chesterton’s advice, and make sure you have Thomas’s Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.]

But since you’re in the boat, and God promises it won’t shipwreck, just get in, and stay in, the boat.

*

Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain

Rain Rain Rain Rain

Rain Rain Rain

Rain Rain

Rain

R.

*

Still raining.

Obedience = get in the boat, stay in the boat.

Still raining.

*

The boat saved Noah.

It’s good to be the king.

Good to be in an ark, too.

But he wanted out. He sent the dove.

He sent the bird out. Comes back with questo cazzo. Zip.

And Noah’s a little annoyed by now, and not for nothing, capisce?

Do you smell smoke, bird? Are those your tail feathers burnin’? Be a shame if something happened to your beautiful plumage.

Then he sent it out again, and it came back with a twig.

What’m I s’posed to do with a twig? Start a forest on the ark? Dig an orchard? Is this a “Garden of Eden” metaphor, you dumb dove?

Once more into the breach, out goes the bird … never to return.

Damn bird. Shoulda made Thanksgiving dinner out of him. Call it squab.

Oh wait. Not coming back at all. That’s a good sign.

Might be time to get out of the boat.

*

But … you know … not so fast.

Hold yourself on just a minute there.

It’s not bad on the boat. The “live aboard” life: electricity, laundry nearby, a pumping station. Kind of fond of this boat. Kinda comfy, really.

And did not God say to get in the boat?

Think on it for a sec.

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