Daily Devotional reflections

As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will seek to post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.

Wednesday 29th July 2020

'Mount Ararat-Part 2'

Back in 2008, a Hong Kong based group called Noah’s Ark International Ministries claimed to have found evidence for the existence of Noah’s Ark. Excavating under the snow, ice and volcanic debris on the summit of Mount Ararat, they claimed to have uncovered a wooden structure that was partitioned into different spaces. Whilst keeping the location secret, the team also claim to have radiocarbon-dated wood taken from the discovery site, which shows the purported ark is about 4,800 years old, which coincides roughly with the time of Noah's flood implied by the Bible.

However, the groups enthusiastic claims, have been met with a great deal of scepticism, possibly because of failure to produce independently verifiable evidence. One archaeologist specializing in the Middle East at Stony Brook University in New York State. Paul Zimansky also poured cold water on the claims. He observed: ‘I don't know of any expedition that ever went looking for the ark and didn't find it!’ He also claimed that ‘The Noah's Ark Ministries International explorers are playing in a very different ballpark than the rest of us. "They're playing without any concern for the archaeological, historical, and geological records."


Genesis 6: 9-23

Noah and the Flood

This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 
This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.
I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.  You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
Noah did everything just as God commanded him.


As mentioned yesterday, the story of Noah and the Ark makes for challenging reading. Some people read it as a reliable record of a literal historical event, that God did flood the entire world. Some people read it as an ancient allegory or parable. My personal view is a wee bit more complicated. I do think the story may have a historic root, say an experience of natural disaster like a flood. Then over many generations the story was told and retold and developed to teach moral lessons and spiritual truth.

This is why we need to develop a faith that is informed and the capacity for asking hard questions! That does not mean, for example, theologians and believers are always wrong and sceptical atheists are always right! Far from it. (If you want to read a book that is well informed and well-argued but completely misses the point, read ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins!)


So what lesson can this teach us today? With faith there has to be discernment. But also remember a lone amateur built the Ark and a large group of professionals built the Titanic!


Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church


God of all love and peace, we come to you in faith,
offering you access into every area of our lives.
We pray for our congregation at Cruden Parish Church:
May we not grow weary in doing good.
Keep us from idleness, that we may not be busybodies;
May we not grow weary in doing good.
Enable us to do our work quietly in a manner that pleases you;
May we not grow weary in doing good.
Grant us discernment to fulfil our vocations with industry and hard work;
May we not grow weary in doing good.
We look to you, Lord of all, mindful of our helplessness,
Glorify your name in the midst of our need.

A prayer for discernment

Loving God,
We pray for the wisdom to discern your call in our lives.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the wisdom to make healthy choices
in the face of endless and confusing options.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the grace to redefine our relationships
with our parents and our friends as our lives change.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the grace to form new relationships
with new friends as we move forward from this place.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the courage to swim against the current of society
as we seek to follow where you lead us.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the courage to take a stand with you
for justice and peace in this world in this time.
Hear our prayer, O God.

Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
now and forever.


Not when the mountains shake,
or the seas roar,
or the clouds part to reveal You,
Holy One,
but here and now,
on this one ordinary day,
we will wait and watch
for You will surely come to us.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us all, now and evermore.