Cover the Earth
University Lutheran Church, Tallahassee, FL
Reading: Genesis 8:13–19
“In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”
So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.”
If you go by a Sherwin-Williams paint store, or if you see someone wearing a Sherwin-Williams shirt, you may notice it’s iconic logo: a paint can spilling out red paint all over a globe oftentimes with “Cover the Earth” spelled out in the red paint. Sherwin-Williams has used some version of that logo ever since 1893. But did you know that Sherwin-Williams had a different logo? At the beginning of the company, they used two logos – the “Cover the Earth” logo and a chameleon on a painter’s palette, which was supposed to symbolize how you could get Sherwin-Williams paint to match your house like a chameleon.
Like the Sherwin-Williams people, God tells Noah to go and “cover the earth”. Well, actually what He says is “be fruitful and multiply,” echoing His words to our first human parents, Adam and Eve. But the problem is that humanity has been doing too much “chameleoning” of the evil that they see in one another. Sin is not only pervasive in our lives, but it is also replicable. Unfortunately, far too often we can trace our sins back to trying to match or copy the sins of another. What God saw in Noah was an ability to refuse the sinful world of his day and to stand on his own. Genesis 6 says that Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. While Noah certainly must have had sins, and later goes on to commit sins that the Bible records, the Bible is clear in mentioning how he stood against the sins of his day. Noah was no chameleon.
We too are called to “cover the earth,” not with sins that we have chameleon’ed from other sinners, but with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to be fruitful and multiply, making disciples by Baptizing and teaching. Let us together refuse to copy the sins of this world and cover the world with the good news of the salvation that was promised to us. Amen.