When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. (Genesis 9:16, NRSV)
The first thing that Thomas Cook did after realizing that he had won the $22 million dollar jackpot from the Wisconsin Lottery was call an old friend, Joseph Feeney. You see, once upon a time Thomas and Joseph shook hands and agreed that if either of them ever won the lottery, they would split the winnings. Back in 1992, when they made this agreement, they were buying weekly tickets together in hopes of winning a big jackpot. However, they have not purchased tickets together in a few decades. But in the words of Thomas Cook: “A handshake’s a handshake…” So, Thomas called Joseph to tell him that he had just become a millionaire.
Promises are funny things, aren’t they? You can make one, but it is really up to the other party to uphold their end of the agreement. And a promise is made between two equal parties.
However, in Genesis, we have this powerful vision of covenant that is created by God. And we are reminded of God’s covenant with humankind each time we see a rainbow in the sky. And what makes a covenant unique is that it is made between two unequal parties. God, the one who breathed life into us, is the same one who has also made covenant with us.
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot in Wisconsin are 1 in about 292 million. I cannot imagine what the odds are of a friend keeping a nearly 30-year-old promise to split millions with you. But I do know the odds of God keeping God’s covenant with us, no matter what, are 100% in our favor. Thanks be to God!
Rev. Dr. Dawson B. Taylor
For Collier County teachers & school workers who are afraid to return to the classroom later this month:
Loving God, thank you for always keeping your covenant with us. Amen.