Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Double Rainbow over Sheffield, photograph by Rayna Mayer, 2022

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Genesis 9:13-15

The rainbow connects heaven and earth. God offers it as a symbol of covenant, an agreement between God and Man: you keep my law and I'll keep you safe. Interestingly, a rainbow, when it occurs, appears to begin on earth itself, not in the heavens. It rises to heaven and then descends to the earth again. This symbol may be a reminder that however high we try to raise ourselves, whatever aspirations of greatness we may have—and the kings and princes of old (and new!) certainly had God-like aspirations—we are always bound to the earth, never to be "like a God". We can aspire, but we may not acquire. A rainbow reminds us to stay humble, and to remain in awe.

After God's mistake of almost destroying the planet and all life therein, this verse describes an act of amends, a promise that things will be different. An amends is not saying sorry; it is a commitment to mend what is broken, to repair, and to act differently in the future. God's covenant is God's amends to man. God promises that He will never again destroy the earth—but He doesn't promise that humankind won't do that all by itself!

I don't destroy planets, but I do make mistakes, act in anger, say regrettable things to those I love. I hurt, they hurt. After a flood—of tears perhaps—I may be ready to reach out in amends, in covenant. Rainbows appear too, when the sun strikes a tear.