Today's Lectionary Text
Isaiah 54:9-10This is like the days of Noah to me:
Just as I swore that the waters of Noah
would never again go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
My last year of seminary, I got to visit the Holy Land for a two-week tour. Traveling to places I’d spent three years studying was a great way to end my time and give me encouragement as I started in full-time ministry. On this trip we took many hikes and saw various ruins. (I saw more ancient bathrooms then I ever expected to see.)
On one of our hikes, it had been quite rainy all day. Most of us were bundled up with sweatshirts and raincoats, and I was hiding my camera under an umbrella making sure it did not get wet. However, as we were leaving and returning to our bus, the rain began to slow, and the clouds opened allowing for a rainbow to shine through.
I took this picture and stood in awe for a few moments at the beauty of God’s creation. I’ve always liked the image of God putting the rainbow in the sky as a promised to the covenant between us and the Divine. And it is clear the prophet Isaiah also holds a similar view, remind themselves of the covenant in the rainbow.
Today, I think this reminder of God’s covenant and protection for all creation can come in the form of the bow in the sky, but it might also be seen on the side of a church with a sign that says, “All are welcome” or “You belong here.” The promise of God’s steadfast love might be found in a friendly smile or over a warm cup of coffee. Love might be through a card you send to a friend who needs support, or it might be by listening to your favorite hymn.
Even in the moments when there are clouds surrounding us, when there is pain and hardship, God does not abandon us and promises to bring forth joy and light. God promises to have compassion and be gentle with us. And so, we too, are called to live with Holy Spirit and share the same space with all today. How can you be a bright shining rainbow to the world today?
Omaha First UMC
Prayer for Reflection
God of the rain and God of the rainbows, thank you for affirming your promise that your steadfast love will never depart from us. Even when there is rain and turmoil your covenant of grace and peace ring true. We praise you for the rainbows. Together we pray. Amen.
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