Just the other day the kids and I were looking out their bedroom window as the rain danced and played and poured happily into our brand new rain barrel under the most beautiful double rainbow I had seen in a year or two. It made me think of how good God is to me (to you, to all of us!) But then again, that’s what rainbows are supposed to do …
Genesis 9:12 And God said, This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.
The rainbow is a sign. But not so much for you or me. It is a sign for God that no matter what we might deserve, He will not punish us by water again. He will reserved water for granting life – Baptismal life – eternal life. It will never again be the agent of judgment, but of mercy. And for that reason a rainbow as a glorious sign indeed.
But then I also got to thinking that the rainbow does not mean the same thing for most people anymore. It has been co-opted in our day and age as an all-together different kind of sign. A sign of tolerance and inclusiveness … but not under God and His covenant to us undeserving sinners! Rather, it is used by a few to promote some of the very same sinful activities and attitudes that led to the global flood in the first place!
Think of the gall … to use the very symbol of God’s unilateral covenant of mercy to actually condone and promote sin! Sadly, the rainbow is not what it once was …
… It is even more important now than ever. Into a world flooded with selfish and self-serving attitudes, a world awash in greed and violence, corruption and shame it is nice to know that there are still rainbows in the sky.
I may not see them as often as I like, but somewhere in the world right now there is a rainbow. And God sees it. And because of Christ and the punishment that He bore for you and me on the cross the Father remembers. God sees the rainbow and remembers His covenant to Noah and all the flesh of the earth. And the storms subside and the rains bring new life once again.