I know how rainbows are created. I understand the theory and science behind music. Even with this knowledge, somehow a rainbow bursting through clouds and the perfect song to underscore an emotion disorients me in the most wonderful of ways. Even at my lowest, such moments can provide respite. I become lost in the grandeur and beauty of it all and my soul, for a divine moment, feels at home in God’s mysterious ways. As we go deeper into this week’s texts and the possible meanings, let I not take away from the grandeur of a rainbow and our need to find home and respite during this wilderness time.
Noah’s ark, water and a rainbow are symbols that are ubiquitous in both church and popular culture. The pervasiveness of the story – from movies life Evan Almighty – to nursery school decorations, has domesticated a formative (and violent) narrative of our faith. After most of all living things are annihilated, God introduces a covenant with the remnants, promising creation will not be destroyed again through water. The theme this service focuses on, and that reappears throughout Lent, is the notion that God’s covenant is not just with people, but with all creations. We are promised that no matter how fierce and destructive the storm, it will eventually end and not all will be lost. How might people who have lost everything in a storm feel about this text and this promise? What is a pastoral response to the people who were not able to make in onto the ark?
The main concern of the passage seems to be more about covenant and less about the people and parts of creation who have been left behind. What role do we have in up keeping this covenant? And how will we do so in partnership and mutuality with the rest of creation?