From David our moderator

 

Late afternoon yesterday, and the sky was dark, there was a light rain, but it was also one of those times when the low sun was shining through the rain clouds. We looked out with Amelia through the patio door and there in the west we saw a beautiful rainbow, resplendent in all its seven glowing colours. Amelia called in Abigail and Holly and we all looked at it.

Then we noticed not just the single bow, but above it was a secondary bow, and then further out we caught the vague misty shape of yet a third, a tertiary bow. It was as though someone had painted the sky in great glowing arches. Matthew arrived and he also had seen the rainbow.

It brought to my mind that old sentence I guess we all learned “Richard of York gave battle in vain” a way of remembering in order the so called seven colours of the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Always providing of course you also remembered something of the wars of the roses, and Richard Duke of York death in 1460 during the infamous battle of Wakefield. One famous outcome of a disaster in History linked to this phenomenon of Nature.

That of course reminded me of the other disaster story linked to the rainbow that every child knows from the first book of the bible. Noah and his floating zoo rising above the waters of the great flood.

At the end of that story God says. “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.”

For Noah the seven hued bow was to be not just a natural thing of beauty, but a sign of grace and a protective promise made by God who is ultimately in control of history.

 Much later in history the prophet Ezekiel had a vision of what he calls “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord”. He struggles to describe in words the figure of a man on heavens throne “Who looked like fire, with brilliant light surrounding him, like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day”. Another sign of grace in another time of disaster for God’s people, and a reminder that God was still in control of history, and the world he made.

Finally, in that mysterious last book of the bible, in a time when the church was passing through the crisis of persecution, John also has a vision, of a figure who seems to be glowing with the colours of precious stones, sitting on the throne of heaven, far above the petty affairs of the Empires of the world, yet intimately in control of all things on earth.

He says A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne” and there it is again, the rainbow, as the sign of grace in a time of disaster and crisis. The reminder once more that God is in control of His world and all of history, despite everything that causes us to be anxious about the future.

In our own day and our own lives, we face a whole variety of crises and problems, we are concerned about species extinction, pollution of the environment, global warming, desertification and many other such matters, and we are right to be concerned and to act on those concerns. But the rainbow, with its secondary, and sometimes its tertiary bow, reminds us that even in the clouds the rain and the storm, God who made the world, and each one of us, is still in control, and the sunshine of his grace still shines through.

Every Blessing

David