Rainbows In The Clouds
After a glorious day of sunshine yesterday, I find myself looking out at grey skies and pouring rain. Days like this can make us feel gloomy, especially when we look at the weather forecast to see it is going to be like this for the most of next week.
I find myself thinking about a recent post on facebook where the American poet Maya Angelou is talking about a 19th century African American song that says:
“Well it looked like the sun wouldn't shine anymore God put a rainbow in the cloud”
Maya Angelou spoke about the many people that had represented rainbows in the clouds of her life. People who had supported her, encouraged her and brightened up her dark and gloomy days.
As I listened to her I was reminded of the people that have been and are the rainbows in the clouds in my life.
I know most of these rainbows. I can name them and I spend time with them. However there have also been many people who have been rainbows in my life that I have never seen or spoken to.
During the early days of lockdown, I would often go for my once a day “permitted” walk early in the morning. I really enjoyed this time of day; the peace where I could hear nothing but the bird song, or the rush of the River Gryffe as I walked through the woods. One particular morning however I can remember feeling particularly melancholic and gloomy about things. Cut off from my usual “rainbows”, and not knowing when I would be able to spend time with them, I was feeling a real sadness and loneliness.
As I left the woods and walked out onto the streets of Houston I looked up at some of the houses I passed. I was struck by just how many children had taken the time to make and display beautiful NHS rainbows in their windows.
As I continued with my walk I found myself at the end of Leman Drive where someone had put some fresh flowers in the street sign.
As I saw the pictures and the flowers, I felt my spirits lift and found myself smiling. I remembered that I wasn’t alone. There were other people throughout Houston letting me know that they were still there, doing whatever they could to make the gloomy and dark days of lock down a bit brighter for the people in our community.
What some might consider to be seemingly small gestures made an enormous difference to me that day. The rainbow pictures and the flowers truly were the rainbows in my clouds, and I am so thankful for those who put them there.
In the book of Genesis 9:13 the rainbow signifies God’s covenant with his people. A covenant that reminds us that we are never alone, that God is with us and loves us. A covenant that is all too easy to forget when all we can see is dark clouds and rain.
Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 5:14-16 that they are the light of the world. Those who follow Jesus are the those who are meant to bring light to others – the ones that offer a breakthrough in the clouds, much like the rainbow that reminds us that we are not alone – that God is with us.
I wonder how often we think about being the light or the rainbow that breaks through in the clouds of others. A light or rainbow that reminds people that they are not alone, that they are supported, loved and valued, a light that points to the love that God has for each and every human being, and a light that Jesus asks us to be.
As we ease out of lock-down and back into the routine of our daily life, maybe we could begin to think about those who have been the rainbows in our life and thank God for them.
Maybe we could also think about what we can do to be that light and rainbow in the lives of others. Whether that means putting flowers in the street sign, a picture of hope in your window, or just giving someone a smile or a helping hand.
May we as a Church always be among those who shine the light of God’s love in our community and be the rainbow in the clouds.