“So, ~J, you slacked off again last night. Where was the blog?”
Yeah, well, I’m going to use the same excuse as last week, I was sick – as in, hospitalised sick, and they don’t provide you with wireless internet at the hospital for me to be able to play on the internet from there. Someone remind me to get a Wireless Internet stick – just something prepaid to take with me when I’m on holiday, or stuck in hospital, or other out of the ordinary circumstances.
It must have been a week for old illnesses. I suffered an asthma attack this week.
Now, I haven’t had any real issues with asthma in years. I last had a proper asthma attack when I was about thirteen or fourteen, and by the time I was about 21, I was no longer even taking medication. I figured I’d grown out of it.
Apparently not. I had a bout of what felt like a flu bug earlier this week, but it didn’t hang around long, only 24 hours, then the next day I was just a bit short of breath, coughing a little, like there was still some congestion in there. 24 hours later, I’m breathing heavily and going, “You know what, this is really reminiscent of the early onset of an asthma attack.” So I took an early lunch at work on Thursday morning, saying I was going to use my lunch break to go to the ED, get some treatment and come back again.
It didn’t quite work that way. I didn’t respond to the medication, and they admitted me overnight. Now I have to go back, get analysed a bit more in a couple of weeks, and build an “Asthma Action Plan” – I feel like I’m a kid again, but while I dealt with asthma my entire childhood and pretty much adolescence, it’s been so long that I have forgotten enough that I’m not really confident to just trust my experience. So it’s probably for the best.
I was talking to an awesome friend last night, who pointed out she’d been studying Psalm 23 – still my all time favourite Psalm, ever since Mrs Rogers had the class memorise it when I was in Grade 2. I only recall about three or four of us actually managing to do so. In particular, we went to the verse that says He makes me lie down beside still waters, and thought about the lesson there. Sometimes, we just get made to lie down. Funnily enough, I don’t think we went further than that last night, but I just got struck by the next line: He restores my soul. Perhaps there’s a little bit more to that lesson that we didn’t go into last night.
Anyway, though, there’s plenty of time for Psalm 23 in around a year or so. Genesis 9:
We really get shown that this is a new beginning, which again comes back to the mention I made earlier about God’s covenant with Noah. God tells Noah and his children, and the animals, to go and cover the Earth, be fruitful, increase in number, all those kinds of things. He reiterates – perhaps even stronger than he did to Adam and Eve, that man has dominion over the Earth. The language here is that “fear and dread” of humanity will fall upon the animals and birds and fish. It’s almost like we didn’t eat meat prior to this – in verse 3, God says “Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”
I find that interesting.
We come to the Covenant, the first Covenant between God and humanity, never to destroy the Earth via a flood again, and we’ll see a rainbow every time it rains to remind us of that. We also, though, if we go back a couple of verses, really see God laying down law: He demands an accounting of every animal and from every man.
It’s almost like God’s saying: “Right, fresh start, but before we start again, ground rules: You’re responsible, you have your own choice, your own freedom, but what you do with that freedom, you’re the one accountable for it.”
It really feels like there is, at this point, a new level of responsibility placed on human kind.
Then Noah plants a vineyard. Hey, he’s lived 600 years, saved the human race and all the animals, it’s time to retire to the wine country, plant a vineyard, live out his years in luxury. He gets drunk and one son – Ham (conveniently also called Canaan) makes a bit of a joke of it. His other two sons, Shem and Japheth, restore their father’s modesty. In turn Ham (now called, in the text, Canaan) is cursed to be the slave of the other two. Why does this concept sound a little familiar?
What I really take out of this chapter, though, is that responsibility message. We are accountable.