Many people are familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark – even those who have no religious inclination know this tale.
I had reason to reconsider what it was like inside the ark when I was away from familiar surroundings earlier this week. I was not scared because of any end of the world prophecy neither was I about to be covered in a deluge of water – although it had been raining earlier that day. No, rather than that, I was thinking of the amount of love and joy that was in that structure. There was a feeling of connection, purpose and shared future right there. It weaved itself between smiles, hugs and handshakes. Everyone was joined together by an invisible but strong thread of love. I was sat inside a pub (an unusual location for me on any given day, especially a Monday afternoon), nevertheless I was aware of the way I was feeling whilst there.
Inside that pub, remote from my home, I felt more at peace and comfortable – no doubt, like the original inhabitants of the ark – than I do when I attend my weekly church service. That fact disturbed me, merely because of the alienation from peace that accompanies me in the company of people who profess to be Christians but often show habits that would not be out of place in an SS meeting.
The family and friends gathered in that pub were mostly strangers to me, yet they were genuinely warm and welcoming to me. I felt at home. I felt safe in the pub that became my ark for the afternoon.
I will continue to find safety in the mobile ark that I am constructing – according to God’s plans for my life, and I hope that I will someday replicate that feeling of safety that I experienced in the pub in more places that I frequent, especially my weekly church attendance.