Have you ever wondered why people are fascinated with rainbows? If a big rain comes and then the sun suddenly comes out and a rainbow appears, people will stop walking in the street to stare and point and make remarks about how beautiful it is. If you are driving and you see one, you may be distracted by its location and beauty.
Scientists can explain how rainbows appear and why they happen but they are still very mysterious. They are part of legend in various cultures but the most well known, of course, has to do with the Irish culture and finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Leprechauns are responsible for making humans go to all lengths to try to discover the end of the rainbow so as to find the gold and they laugh with joy whenever the humans have been fooled by their tricks. That does not make humans dream less about fortune that could be hidden at the rainbow's end. It continues to be a fantasy to some who daydream about wealth and riches.
There is a rainbow in a story in the Bible. The story is one of the most famous biblical stories--Noah and the ark! Noah builds a huge boat called an ark to hold his family members and two of each kind of creatures on the earth so that after the giant flood they can repopulate the earth. The giant flood happens because God is very angry at how violent human beings have become so God decides to just start over with Noah and his family and the creatures who are saved from the flood.
The rains stop falling and the flood waters finally begin to receded and Noah sends out a dove to see if there is dry land. When the dove returns with an olive branch in its mouth, then Noah knows that the coast is clear, relatively speaking. There is still a lot of water around and a lot of damage control to enact, as well as the planting of a vineyard so that Noah and his family can have wine to rejoice and celebrate the new life.
God and Noah talk and God tells him that God will never again destroy the planet with a flood. As a sign to help God remember this promise, God tells Noah that God will place a rainbow in the sky as a reminder to God that this promise was made to humans. The rainbow is actually a reminder for God and a sign of this covenant with Noah and the new inhabitants of earth.
God made this promise not only to humans but also to all the creatures that inhabit the earth with humans. God grieved over the loss of human life as well as animal life and did not want this act to happen again so the rainbow was set as a reminder that God would remember the promise made.
We may never find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but we can find a sign of God's great promise to humankind that God's love and grace will be everlasting. This is the first of three great covenants made by God to humankind--first with Noah, then with Abraham, and then with Moses at the mountain as the Commandments were given. God's steadfast love continued to grow as humans learned about this God and how God loved humans despite their frailties.
When it looks like the sun will not shine again, remember the rainbow, a sign of promise and hope and new life to all who are seeking a better future.