Rainbows hold a special significance for lots of people, I guess. There are some famous songs about it, numerous stories about pots of gold at the end of rainbows, and dozens of rainbow-coloured cartoon creatures that hold some kind of magical powers. I find rainbow stickers on cafe windows and entrances to local art galleries, and I wonder if it has come to mean a symbol of equality – that all people on earth are a different colour shade because of our differences.
It is fascinating to find a rainbow wherever a light refracts through a prism to create the effect. Whenever I see a rainbow, I automatically think ‘God keeps his promises.’ Perhaps because the rainbow was a sign from God in the Old Testament when the flood waters receded and Noah and his family and animals stepped on solid ground for the first time in months. Floating around on the ark, and knowing that all that was on earth was being destroyed beneath the hull of their boat must have given them quite a ‘sinking feeling.’ (excuse the pun) The rainbow signified that God would never flood the earth again.
My father-in-law once worked in PNG and found a fossil of a shell on top of a mountain, which, he claimed, was proof of the flood! Global warming and climate change experts seem to think that rising sea levels are a definite threat. Is this force enough to flood the earth, or would it have to be an ‘act of God’? A global Tsunami perhaps? There is much evidence to suggest there was a period in history where the earth did flood, but does this biblical sign of the rainbow mean anything to us today? Back to the rainbows…
I learned all about refraction at university, in a science elective which was targeted at Arts students who needed to diversify their learning experience.. and I learned that.. rainbows need a source of light! This was an easy subject, as I had already learned this from the cover of Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon.
Living in country Tasmania, light dictates so much of our lives – how much wood we need to put on the fire to keep warm, how much whipper snippering we can expect to get done on a weekend. Things are much harder in winter while the days are short – and summer is simply brilliant with the warm sun still lighting up the sky until 9.30pm or even later! This is something perhaps city dwellers cannot appreciate – the importance of the hours of daylight for people living on the land, and the brilliant sun as nature’s own heater for the solar-passive house.
There is a song in my head that goes round and round upon thinking about ‘light’ – it goes like this “There’s a light, in the darkness of everybody’s life….over at the Frankenstein’s place!” Yes, it’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. As if the house of Rocky Horror held a glimmer of hope for those lost in the woods, the light in the window summoned the unsuspecting visitors, newly-weds Brad and Janet into his house, for the grand tour of their lives. Well, as much as I love Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry’s performances, I have come to know that Rocky Horror does not hold the light in the darkness. God is the light.
All this thinking about light and rainbows has got me working on an analogy of God in all His three persons – also known as The Trinity. Here it goes:
God is the source of light, Jesus is the prism which in itself reflects God’s light to others, and God’s Spirit is the rainbow of light to all the nations of the world – regardless of their gender, culture, age, or religion.
We were all made in God’s image and we do have a sense of our Creator written into our hearts – so to speak. Whether we choose to block out the light, pull down the blinds, and close our eyes to it – is totally up to us. But the source of light is always there, and we cannot put it out, same as the darkness can not put it out.
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20
There are stories in the bible of people like Moses and Elijah who spoke to God and witnessed God’s presence – their faces glowed, they feared they would die, the light was too bright for them to even look at. We are unable to stand in the presence of God, his light is so bright, we would be blinded, his power is so great, we would not be able to live. If it weren’t for Jesus, God who became man, who refracts the light of God for us to see, we would have no chance of getting near to God.
Rainbows are very popular where we live. We actually get a lot of sun, and lots of rain, so rainbows come all year round. Each week at our Sunday gathering, we discuss how we have seen God working in our lives – and there is nearly always the mention of a rainbow. It bring so much joy to these ladies who are perhaps battling the pains of growing older, and like to entertain happy thoughts in the dreary rain and the cold Southern winter.
So next time you see a rainbow – and the sun’s rays refract through drops of water that act as a prism and disperse the light spectrum across the sky – you can imagine it from the science-geek point of view, from the art-lover’s awe of nature, from a biblical perspective, or from a symbolic view. However you view the rainbow is irrelevant, what is actually important for us, is to examine the source.
If you read the very first sentences in the bible, the word of God is the source of light: He said “Let there be light.” In Genesis:
- 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
- 1:2 – And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
- 1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
- 1:4 – And God saw the light, and it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Jesus is the prism that reflects God’s light to the world: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
And it is available to all nations of the world, for all ‘colours of the rainbow’ as those who believe in Jesus as the son of God, receive the Holy Spirit.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes..” Romans 1:16
We can spend our time ‘chasing rainbows’ or pots of gold, but if we turn around, we will find the source of light and life through Jesus Christ, son of God.