the promise of the rainbow


Rainbow in Woolton Woods

During the ‘Coronavirus Crisis’ people have been creating and then displaying rainbow images in the windows of their homes, as well as in other places and spaces. I saw this lovely rainbow tied to a tree in Woolton Woods (Liverpool).

Put simply, a rainbow is a beautiful arc of colour that appears in the sky when the sun shines through falling rain.

Symbolically speaking rainbows are a universal sign of hope, harmony and unity, common to many belief systems and social movements. A bridge to heavenly realities.

The image of the rainbow appears fours times in the Christian Bible. In Genesis chapter 9 the rainbow is set in the sky after the great flood as a sign of the ‘everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ (Genesis 9: 16). Its a Promise.

The prophet Ezekiel receives a vision of Heaven in which he envisages the throne of God…

‘…with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the colour of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it.’

Ezekiel 1: 28

The ‘man’ in this prophecy can be interpreted as the Christ.

This rainbowed image of the throne of God also appears in the Book of Revelation. John the Revelator writes…

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.

Revelation 4: 2-3

These colours of the rainbow are not isolated. They all merge into one another in a glorious panoply of shades. Herein lies a picture of the Kingdom of God. In the words of U2 the song, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for: ‘I believe in Kingdom Come. Then all the colours will bleed into One…’

We live in a world of competing colours. White and black. Red and blue. Orange and green. Such as are represented on the flags and banners of the many people groups. In the rainbow the colours complement (not compete with) one another. In Christ God is forming people of every colour and hue into a new universal Kingdom where the rainbow is both flag and banner.

Rainbows are especially common in Springtide, the season following Easter. In this present Springtide rainbows take on an extra significance. The Coronavirus Crisis began at the close of winter and, God-willing, its downward trajectory looks set to lead us into something of a summer recovery.

Look out for the rainbows.

A Rainbow Blessing

May the blessing of the red sun as it sinks below the horizon be yours.
May the blessing of orange, the colour of flame and hearth be yours.
May the blessing of the wild, green earth and all life be yours.
May the blessing of the blue sea and wind which calls forth waves upon it be yours.
May the blessing of indigo, the twilight colour of change and coolness be yours.
May the blessing of violet, the colour of majesty and might be yours.
And may all the colourful blessings of the God Of The Rainbow be upon you and yours, now and always. Amen