Packing it Up: The Flood
In your group (and as appropriate for your group) share:
- The best thing that happened to you this week
- The worst thing that happened to you this week
- A time in the last week you saw God at work in our community or in another person
Many of the colorful details in this story come from the Old Epic writer, J, and some are “borrowed” or at least very similar to the Babylonian Gilgamesh flood epic. It is the part of the story that give us the picture of God shutting the door of the ark from the outside (how else would it close?), and the story of Noah sending out the birds to determine if there was any dry land around (Like Gilgamesh).
The story invites us to imagine what the important things really are. God told Noah to outfit the boat with a pair of each animal, and food, and his wife, and their three sons and daughters-in-laws. This would serve as the “stock” from which all the earth would be restored. Of course, this story is set before the Exodus, before the 10 Commandments, the Promised Land, the Temple, and certainly before there is any idea of Jesus.
Imagine that you were in this situation now – a sort of pioneer wagon or Pilgrim ship – and that what you take with you will determine the character of the world for the future. Assuming that you believe the Lord would want the world to continue as an expression of Christian life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Besides keeping the gene pool intact, what do you imagine the Lord would instruct you to bring:
- 1. Packing the boat
- To express the love of God with heart, mind, soul, and strength?
- To ensure love of neighbor as self?
- To instruct the generations?
- If you could not bring a book or other media, how would you pass on the messages?
- Do you think there are things God would prohibit you from bringing? (Are any of them in your house?)
- 2. Our boat.
- Sometime The Church is depicted metaphorically as an “ark” Even the vaulted ceiling of the nave (a word deriving from “boat” that indicates the place where the congregation sits in church) is compared to the hull of a huge ship. What do you think of our crew?
- If we are on an ark, what does that imply about how we live together?
- If we see people who are not on the ark, what should we do about it? Suppose they don’t believe it is raining?
- Who got you onto the ark? Why did they do it? What response do you think they hoped for?
Take a minute to pray our thanks for the creation and for the gifts we will enjoy in our parks. Your group can decide whether to do this out loud or to write down a prayer to put in your prayer box and take home. Sometimes it is hard to pray aloud in front of people we don’t know very well! You can save that for family time if you prefer.
Bless one another. You can just say, “May the Lord bless you and keep you.”
Gilgamesh (not needed for discussion – just a bonus!)
Epic of Gilgamesh
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from Mesopotamia, is amongst the earliest surviving works of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five, independent Sumerian poems about Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Apparently, four of these were used as source material for a combined epic in Akkadian. This first, “Old Babylonian” version of the epic dates to the 18th century BC and is titled Shūtur eli sharrī (“Surpassing All Other Kings”). Only a few fragments of it survive. The later, Standard Babylonian version dates from the 13th to the tenth centuries and bears the title Sha naqba īmuru (“He who Saw the Deep”). Fragments of approximately two thirds of this longer, 12 tablet version have been recovered. Some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.
The story centers on a friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Enkidu is a wild man created by the gods as Gilgamesh’s equal to distract him from oppressing the people of Uruk. Together, they journey to the Cedar Mountain to defeat Humbaba, its monstrous guardian. Later they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. As a punishment for these actions, the gods sentence Enkidu to death.
The later half of the epic focuses on Gilgamesh’s distress at Enkidu’s death, and his quest for immortality. In order to learn the secret of eternal life, Gilgamesh undertakes a long and perilous journey to find the immortal flood hero, Utnapishtim. He learns that “The life that you are seeking you will never find. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping.” His fame however lived on after his death; because of his great building projects, and the his account of what Utnapishtim told him happened during the flood. His story has been translated into many different languages, and he has become an icon of popular culture.
Many distinct sources exist over a 2,000-year timeframe. The old Sumerian poems, and a later Akkadian version, are the chief sources for modern translations, with the Sumerian version mainly used to fill in lacunae in the Akkadian version. Although several revised versions based on new discoveries have been published, the epic remains incomplete.The earliest Sumerian poems are now generally considered to be distinct stories rather than parts of a single epic.:45 They date from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (2150-2000 BC).:41-42 The earliest Akkadian versions are dated to the early second millennium:45, most likely in the eighteenth or seventeenth century BC, when one or more authors drew upon used existing literary material to create a single epic. The “standard” Akkadian version, consisting of 12 tablets, was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 1300 and 1000 BC and was found in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh.
Relationship to the Bible
Further information: Panbabylonism
Various themes, plot elements, and characters in the Epic of Gilgamesh can also be found in the Bible, in particular in the stories of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (both stories involve a serpent) and the story of Noah and the Flood.
Andrew R. George claims that the Flood episode in Gen. 6-8 matches the older Babylonian myth so closely, that few doubt that it derives from the Mesopotamian account. What is particularly noticeable is the way the Genesis flood story follows the Gilgamesh flood tale “point by point and in the same order”, even when the story permits other alternatives. Jump to: navigation, search