This phase of the global pandemic reminds me of the end of the flood story in Genesis. The narrative we’re most familiar with is the “Forty days and forty nights.” But, like so many of the stories in our Bible, there is actually more than one version of the story about Noah and the Flood. There are two distinct stories that have been woven into one. Biblical scholars talk about the author of the 40 days story as the Yahwist (this writer always refers to God as Yahweh). The other flood story comes from the Priestly tradition. In this story, the flood lasts a year, and it is caused by the disintegration of order rather than just rain. To me, our pandemic feels like this longer, more chaotic flood story. Specifically, this section.
Each of our COVID spikes have been like the waters swelling on the earth, for a metaphorical 150 days. The waters may be beginning to subside now, we may have found land–the top of a mountain peaking above the waterline. But we still have long stretches of time to wait in imperfect confinement as the waters continue to abate, and then the land dries out, and then plants grow — and then, then it will be time to burst forth in freedom, bringing all creation with us, as we learn to be fruitful and to multiply goodness once again.