Genesis chapter 9 vs 12- 17
And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come.
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.
Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 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.
So God said to Noah, ‘This is a sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.
Since I was widowed, rainbows have become rather important to me. They can be a stunningly beautiful display of nature – I can’t say I truly understand the science behind them, but I am happy to contemplate their beauty and the feeling of peace they give me.
There have been numerous times in the last 8 years when I have been having a bad day, that my mood has been lifted by the sight of a rainbow. I remember once when I was in San Francisco and feeling very low, when a car drove past with a Hawaiian licence plate. The state symbol for, Hawaii for those of you who don’t know, is a rainbow. The sight of it gave me the reassurance that God was with me and understood.
It has made me smile to see the proliferation of the rainbow pictures around the world since the Coronavirus pandemic has had such an impact on our daily lives. I have done a bit of research online and there are lots of press articles talking about how the use of rainbow pictures started in Italy, but that the idea has spread throughout the world.
In the UK they have been displayed in windows to express support for the NHS and as an encouragement to passers-by whilst we are in lock down and not able to see loved ones, colleagues and friends. There are comments in the news about the fact that rainbows appear as a period of peace following stormy weather.
I found a photo of a beautiful rainbow over New York taken last month, a city that has suffered hugely through this crisis.
The front window of Benenden Hospital, where I work is being covered in rainbow pictures from local children. There are many in Staplehurst, on the Buller Family’s Thank You board and the Davey’s garage and on windows of individual houses up and down the village.
Among the popular press I have found no reference to this passage about a rainbow in the Bible but I can’t help feeling its relevance.
The choice of a rainbow, a symbol of hope after dark times feels so apt. The knowledge that it represents God’s promise to us, that he will be with us always, and will never leave us or forsake us.
Whatever the future holds, it a reassurance that we can trust in God to give us peace in troubled times.