At Northview UMC 15 years ago, a mural of Noah’s Ark was painted on a curved hallway where the preschool meets and aptly named, “Noah’s Arc”. Take a moment and look into the meaning behind the creatures and symbolism hidden in this painting, then, come see it for yourself!
The Donkeys – They are important for the role they play in the Bible. Maybe you got to attend Donkey Tales – M.A.D. Camp 2016 and remember some of those stories! These donkeys don’t have a cross on their backs yet because the ark and all of Noah’s hard work happened a long time before a donkey carried Christ the King into Jerusalem.
The Houses – There are three houses in the painting. The first is an Inn like the one that had no room for Mary and Joseph when they came to Bethlehem right before Christ was born. The second is the house of a neighbor who chose to not listen to Noah and heed the warning that there was a flood coming. The third is Noah’s house where his wife is getting the last things gathered up to go on the ark with Noah and survive the flood. Noah’s family is inside getting ready as well.
The Songbirds – These birds look like yellow canaries and they are there to remind us how God is always watching over us, even the tiniest sparrow is under God’s watch.
The Red Foxes – The red foxes represent our friends whom we should share the word of God with. They might be clever, but even they need to hear the story about Jesus Christ.
The Beavers – The beavers represent all the hard workers in the church that prepare meals, gather supplies, build, and do whatever needs to be done. They are strong believers, willing to help wherever they can.
The Duck Family – Mother Duck is leading her new ducklings towards the Preschool Director’s office where Father Duck has gone ahead to check out how the water at the lake is that day. The image of the mother and ducklings is just like the Preschool logo. I think Noah makes a special exception for the whole Duck family to come on board so no duckling is left behind.
The Husky Puppies – These dogs represent loyalty, the loyalty it takes to remain faithful to God at all times – even when he tells you to build a big boat!
The Bears – These two represent being prepared. They’re used to getting prepared every year for hibernation, so it was natural that they volunteered to help Noah gather up the food they would need on the ark. There were a lot of animals to feed for quite a while, not to mention Noah’s family. I hear Noah’s son was always hungry!
The Tigers – The tiger can sometimes be scary when he opens his mouth and roars, but God told the tiger that he was going to have to be friends with the other animals on the ark and not eat them! It was hard for the tigers, but they did just as God told them to and didn’t even try to nibble on anybody. They were very obedient.
The Goose – You may notice that there is only one goose in the painting. Noah had clear instruction from God that the animals were to come on two by two, meaning one male and one female of each type of animal. So where is the other goose? This goose is there to represent anyone who is waiting for God to work out His plan. Sometimes, when God is working out something in our lives, we have to wait for a little while, not because God isn’t going to take care of us, but because He’s working things out still.
The Ark – This boat is huge! And rightly so since it had to carry two of every single kind of animal there is in the world today as well as Noah and his family. In the sky overhead is a little peek into what is to come, God’s promise to never again flood the earth.
The Crow – This is another animal that there is only one of. The crow doesn’t represent anything bad, but rather those of us who might be trying to do something that God doesn’t want them to do. The Crow was jealous of the dove who was going to find land when the flood waters were so high. Noah assured the crow that God had a plan for him just like he did the dove.
The Lion and the Lamb – The lion and the lamb are mentioned in the Bible when it talks about a time of peace that will come when Christ returns to the earth in Revelation. It is important to remember that God has had this plan in place for a very, very long time, even back when He was getting Noah to build a boat.
The Monkeys – Let’s face it, we all know who the monkeys are. They’re full of the joy of the Lord and always joking around about anything. Even they were on the ark.
The Frogs – The frogs are there to remind us that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith to go where God is calling you. From where they are, they can’t see down the bend to know that there really is an ark and that they should listen to this Noah guy. They sure will be glad they listened!
The Zebras – The zebras had a long journey to make from the Sahara in Africa to these lush, green mountains, but God helped protect them on their journey just like how he gives us something called “provision” to take care of us while we do what He says to do.
The Kangaroos – Did you know that kangaroos will carry their babies in a pouch on their belly? They are like some believers who have a lot of burdens. God wants us to give those burdens to Him so that we don’t have to carry such a heavy weight around. After all, eventually the baby kangaroo, or Joey, grows up and stops riding around with mom.
The Elephants – These very large animals are there to make us think of wisdom. There are probably a lot of people you know that are very wise and can help us by advising us on what we should do. These two elephants are definitely headed in the right direction!
The Giraffes – Even though the giraffes have long necks that they can use to look around and see farther ahead, even they don’t see the ark from where they are. Sometimes we have to trust that God is leading us to something good even when we can’t see what that good thing is.
The Angel – The angel is there to help direct new visitors towards the nursery where their kids can be taken care of on Sunday mornings. Angels are very important helpers in the Bible. The artist that painted this mural, Meagan Smith, says that she made this angel look like a Precious Moments statue in honor of her mother, Donna Smith, who collects the statues.
The Lamb – The lamb is probably the most important animal in this whole painting. He represents Jesus Christ himself, who was the one and only perfect sacrifice provided by God himself so that we might have forgiveness for our sins and get to go home one day to be with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit, in Heaven. Praise God that he sent His Son, Jesus Christ, just for you and me!