Saturday, November 24, 2012

Somewhere under the rainbow?

      One of the most beautiful features of the natural world is given to us often in the Pacific Northwest; while we may complain about the seemingly incessant dampness sometimes (I know I do!), the moisture is necessary to create rainbows. There are not many natural phenomenon we are given the divine purpose for, so Scripture‘s testimony about what a rainbow means is especially valuable. I have encapsulated the basics into 2 questions for my daughter:
What does a rainbow mean?“
A rainbow is a promise from God.“
A promise to what?“
Not to flood the whole earth again.“
      So we were enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving, and somehow, the conversation drifted to rainbows, and I took the opportunity to show off my daughter‘s biblical acumen. My godly stepfather retorted, “Yeah, that‘s not what a rainbow means now!“ It took a sec for the import of his irony to sink in, but when it did, I was stunned by the complete mess our society has made of one of the greatest displays of God‘s grace: before the Flood, Moses describes man this way...
 “And God looked and saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and the thoughts of the imagination of his heart was only evil continually.“ (Gen 6:5) 
     And after God justly wiped out the entire human race minus 8, it‘s not any better. (Gen 8:21)  Fast forward a couple thousand years and Paul gives his famous condemnation of our depravity (Rom 3:10ff).  So all that to say, if there's a people who should cling to such a sweet, generous promise of mercy, a visible, beautiful sign (the rainbow) that God delights to forgive criminals like us, it's 21st century America.
God have mercy on us...
     Instead, what does the rainbow stand for in our society?  When you see it on T-shirts, bumper stickers, billboards, what's usually the message behind it?  Now are you sharing my speechlessness?  We have turned the first, most broadly disseminated (all over the sky!) announcement that God "does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities" (Ps 103:10) into a celebration of homosexuality!  I am overwhelmed by the feeling we are living in Sodom the day before the angels arrived;  we use God's grace as a license for perversity.  Pray for our sick, sick nation.
"Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.  From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil." (Isa 1:5-6)

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