A harmony-infused bird tells the story of God’s post-flood covenant to Noah from its point of view in the song “Lifeblood” featuring vocals by Emily Clare Zempel.

Listen Lifeblood


This piece is a reaction to Genesis 9:1-17 where God makes a covenant with Noah after the flood, promising that never again will the waters of a flood destroy every living thing.

What we didn’t initially notice about this text, and what inspired this song, was this covenant was also with every living thing (verse 9-10) including the birds, etc. We started to think about what that meant for a bird to have this covenant with God. We also wondered what the bird felt like to see the rainbow in the sky for the first time (apparently they see colors well). We also were inspired to think about the importance of lifeblood, that it is special and handling it should not be taken lightly.

Genesis 9 Excerpt
“I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
Read all of Genesis 9:1-17

“Though I’m just a bird we share this covenant, this everlasting covenant. I’m a bird, I see the colors in the sky, just like you. Never again will the waters destroy me. Never again will the waters destroy us and yet I am in your hands as the green once was.”

The image featured with this song is a watercolor created in 1916 by Charis Carmichael Braun’s grandfather. After hearing this song, Charis was reminded of her family’s heirloom artwork. Though it was not created as a reaction to this song per se, she thought that it embodies much of what the song describes. The redness, perhaps symbolic, of the birds’ feathers, their dedicated communion with each other, the blooming rose, the distant town with a steeple, what Charis has always imagined to be a “houseboat” half-sketched in the middle ground – and her grandfather’s unexpected creativity – has always been a special reassurance to her of the close relationship she has with her family.

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