01/24/21 Genesis 9:16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. A song asks, “Why are there so many songs about rainbows?” I’ve considered that question, and actually there are not a whole lot of songs about rainbows…maybe a couple dozen. But there is that big one – Somewhere Over the Rainbow – that has been done by many artists. One of the great lines from that song is, “If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why Oh why, can’t I?” That is one of the great symbolisms of the rainbow – hope, confidence, moving forward and overcoming. It represents the best attitude toward meeting the challenges we face. Over the years, when Mary or Rebecca were watching something scary on television, I would often hear this phrase mumbled over and over, “Butterflies and rainbows. Butterflies and rainbows.” In times of stress, it is good to bring to mind something affirming, peaceful, and joyful; a rainbow serves that purpose. In our Bible verse, the rainbow symbolizes trust, promise, faith and the expectation of wonderful things. The rainbow represents our desires and dreams; our inner most yearnings and considerations. One of my favorite rainbow songs comes from the musical Finian’s Rainbow and is entitled: Look to the Rainbow. [Sing Song] So we are implored to follow someone with a dream – with a vision, with hope, with expectation. Proverbs 23:18 teaches “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” “I know the plans I have for you… for hope and a future, says Jeremiah 29:11. Romans 8:24-25 tells us, “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” So at one level the rainbow is our symbol of hopes, dreams, desires, and expectation. Yet we realize that there can be no rainbow without clouds in the sky, without raindrops and sunlight. Hope and despair are best friends; they don’t exist without the other. When things are running smoothly we don’t hope for anything; we don’t need hope. It is only when Fear and all of its permutations enter that we call upon hope. Rainbows have always fascinated us. A rainbow needs the clouds in order to materialize. And even then, the rainbow only appears when the light is refracted at around 42°, along with the proper dispersion and internal reflection. Occasionally a second refraction occurs through the same set of water droplets at around 51° creating a double rainbow. When we see a rainbow, it is exclusively ours. The person next to us is viewing the occurrence through a different set of droplets, and thus is seeing a different rainbow. This is true for all of our Life journeys: what I experience, even if we experience it together, is different from what you experience. We see things from a different physical, psychological, and spiritual perspective. Our journey is our journey; our lessons are our lessons. We may all experience things that are similar and the lessons may be similar, but at the same time they are unique to what we need and what we bring to this life. My pain and fear is mine and mine alone. While that is true for each if us, we can comfort each other because we all experience the full range of emotions and trials, and our understanding of these experiences can expand our compassion. The rainbow then helps us understand that we are uniquely individual, but connected. Each color blends together into a perfect and beautiful whole. If we take out the red of a rainbow it is incomplete. That’s kind of a silly thought because a rainbow must, by its very nature, be composed of every range of color – whether it is visible or not. The rainbow emanates the full range of vibrations, which by our physical limitations are restricted to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, which we call colors. But there are other energies being refracted and perhaps other animals and devices can perceive that which we cannot. 42° refraction angle is a requirement for a rainbow to be visible. But it is not its limitation, it is ours. The light is refracting whether we are in the correct position to see it or not; it is our limitation. Likewise, in life Hope, Goodness, Love and the entirety of God are surrounding us at all times. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it is not there. If we attune our awareness in the right way we feel the energies of God’s Love, Joy, and Peace; we hear that still small voice of guidance and comfort. A rainbow represents harmony and completion. Each of us individually - with all of our disparate emotions and thoughts – are truly a rainbow; we are complete and whole; a reflection of God’s perfect Light. As part of a world community, each nation and subset of a nation is its own color, its own energy, and together we make a perfect whole. All the variety and variation comprise a multicultural and multi-species mosaic. Every component of Life plays a part and has value, even if it is in ways that we do not recognize or appreciate. So the rainbow continues to serve as a reminder that there is hope. Even though we can never reach or touch a rainbow that does not detract from their beauty and intrigue. They are always ‘at a distance’, outside of our grasp, yet attracting our attention and inspiring our efforts. They represent our personal horizons and inspire us to move forward through the challenges. In Ezekiel 1:28 a description of Ezekiel’s vision occurs: “All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the LORD looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground …” The manifestation of God’s holiness, or glory, was described as a rainbow. When we can experience something with the awareness of the Spirit of God present within us we are having a Rainbow Experience. We are able to look beyond appearances and see the potential for good in every situation, the value of each moment. In the midst of every challenge there lies the treasure of opportunity for transformation and overcoming. In Matthew 6:21 we are told: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." We may not have all the answers that rainbows offer our hearts and minds, but we can choose to live a life of Rainbow Experiences, full of new opportunities and filled with fresh starts, or we can succumb to the grayness and cloudiness that threaten to pervade our thinking and attitudes. My prayer is that we will prepare our minds and hearts for our Rainbow Experiences; that we will expect good, see God’s glory refracted through every moment, every face, every situation, and thank God for what we can learn and enjoy as we live a life of rainbows.