“Bloom with Vision: Rainbows” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

February 18th,2021 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope you are safe and warm as the winter storms continue to come down on us. Our prayers are with Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma and all of those who are facing freezing temperatures without the infrastructure to support it. We are grateful for all of you who are helping the unhoused and God’s wider creation in this time. Thank you to all who joined us for Ash Wednesday, and we hope your Lenten journey is off to a good and faithful start. We look forward to seeing you Sunday and hearing all the ways you are answering the questions, “How am I following Jesus today?” and “How am I leading with Jesus today?” If you haven’t seen our Lenten Photo Challenge as well, we hope you will enjoy that daily photo prompt to help you see God at work in new ways during this time.

So, I know it’s only day two, but I have to tell on myself, I already messed up my Lenten practice. Day 1! I felt a little defeated that I was not successful for even one day to this practice, but then I read this week’s scripture and was reassured that God’s faithfulness does not require perfection. It requires intention and the commitment to keep at it – even when we slip. Even God says today is a new day and some things God has done, God will not do again.

Intention not perfection, friends.

I know many of us know the story of Noah, but when we think of it, we generally think of the animals going two by two into the ark. But today we are looking at what happened after the flood. The commitment from God to do no harm to us going forward, but to journey with us through life as loving support. God also offers us a visual reminder of God’s covenant to God’s people. Let’s read together this message from the Book of Genesis.

8 God then said to Noah and his family, 9 “I hereby establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you—birds, cattle, and the earth’s wildlife—everything that came out of the ark, everything that lives on the earth. 11 I hereby establish my covenant with you: All flesh will never again be swept away by the waters of the flood; never again will a flood destroy all the earth.”

12 God said, “Here is the sign of the covenant between me and you and every living creature for ageless generations: 13 I set my bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth, my bow will appear in the clouds. 15 Then I will remember the covenant that is between me and you and every kind of living creature, and never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 Whenever my bow appears in the clouds I will see it, and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all living things on the earth.” [Genesis 9:8-17 (ILB)/ Génesis 9:8-17 (NVI)]

A rainbow as a sign of God’s loving faithfulness and grace is one of the first things I remember being told about God as a child. Rainbows are beautiful and special, and I always think of God’s love when I see them. But the problem with rainbows is that they are not always visible to everyone. And they don’t always show up when you feel the need for God’s reassurance. I am sure there is a rainbow on this earth at any given time, but we are not always around or able to see them. It’s hard to see a rainbow in Istanbul from my apartment in New York – although not impossible thanks to technology- and surely our visually impaired siblings, who may have never seen a rainbow, are a part of God’s covenant. God shows up for us all in ways that are accessible to each of us and all of us. Be it a rainbow or a memory. So, this week, I invite you to look for rainbows that aren’t traditional. What images, sounds, or feelings has God placed in your life as a sign of God’s loving covenant? How do those messages of God’s love and faithfulness help and support us in times of challenge?

Friends, each of you serve as a rainbow in my life. I am so grateful to serve with and for you. Every day you remind me of God’s loving faithfulness in this world, but I am especially grateful for you on days when I have to start again. Blessings on your journey be it day one, two, or many and remember that when you slip or feel discouraged God has placed a rainbow in your life- it just may not be in the place you were looking.

Shalom Yall,

Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: O Lord, make me a rainbow of your loving faithfulness. Amen