I saw a rainbow the other day for the first time in a long time. I was in the car but got stopped at a traffic light so had a chance to take a good, long look. It was only half an arc with the bottom disappearing behind a building and the top absorbed into clouds. But it was wide, with bands of beautifully distinct colours. I instantly felt heartened and consoled. It’s Pride month – my first real Pride month because last year I was in the midst of coming out – and I felt a new connection to this symbol of hope.
I know a lot of Christians are angry that “their” symbol has been taken over by The Gays, but it’s not their symbol; it’s God’s. I was reminded of my thoughts on the universe and how I wouldn’t be surprised to find out God made it all in delighted anticipation of humankind slowly discovering all its myriad, amazing intricacies. I think God is delighted that a community of oppressed and discriminated people have found hope, have found their way to each other through the rainbow. God is not constrained by simplistic, one-level answers or ideas. God is the God of all time at once, of all creation in a hand. I’m pretty sure they’re okay with a rainbow meaning more than one thing.
Come to think of it, I don’t really like what the standard Christian idea of the rainbow is anyway. An angry God willing to destroy most of humanity and all of creation who then makes it all better by creating a vision in the sky to promise he won’t do it again sounds too much like an abuser. I don’t believe in that God anymore. (We’ll have to talk about Noah’s story from a different angle another time.) I prefer the view of God that comes with The Gays’ rainbow: a God of love and acceptance, a God who not only takes you as you are but celebrates you as a wonderful creation.
I have a few more rainbows in and around my house these days because it is a symbol. It’s a symbol that tells a queer youth that someone in their neighbourhood is on their team. It tells the person walking by who hasn’t come out to their family that they’re not alone. It tells those who are looking for it that there’s hope. The Spirit knew I needed the gift of that real, live, beautiful rainbow so I could feel the hope, fill up with it to pass it on.
Rainbows forever, Friends! Rainbows forever!
Photo credit: Me! (It’s our house with our rainbow flag, and our Auggie, and our very dirty front window because we have a dog and grandchildren.)