The Rainbow

RainbowNovember 18 ushered in a very stormy day with high winds, tornados, and torrential rains. We were spared the harshest effects of this weather in Young Harris; however, it was a stormy, dreary day with occasional visits from the sun. I was headed east out of downtown Young Harris when I spotted the largest, most pronounced rainbow I have ever seen. All the colors of the spectrum surrounded by dark black storm clouds. Being a photographer, I said, “I wish I could get a picture of that.” I had forgotten that the camera that you have with you is the best camera. I then pulled off the road to a safe place and took photographs of the rainbow with my IPhone 6s. Later in the day I edited the photo and posted it on Facebook.
Life can be a series of storms and squalls. Terrorism is a major storm. The difficulties we deal with in everyday life can be tsunamis, rain squalls, or a passing spring rainfall. When things get stormy, we have an innate tendency to pray. We traditionally have thought of prayer as asking God to come down and rescue us. This prayer is based on an old Hebraic, Hellenic world view.
God is not up there and out there waiting to answer our pleas for help. Jesuit J. J. O’Leary says, “Many of us think that prayer is thinking about and talking to God out there. But prayer begins with reality. The first reality we have is ourselves and that’s where prayer begins.” (“Personal Prayer in the Ignatian Tradition,” in Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book, Marquette University Press, 2005, Emphasis added) This is an incarnational, evolutionary concept of God and prayer. God is not some beneficent, bearded patriarch in the sky waiting to answer our every request. God is reality—the reality of the evolving cosmos and ourselves. God is incarnate in the cosmos and us. God is also out there—out in front—calling us to fullness of life. God is the Cosmic Christ bringing all things to completion. God is with us and in us at all times. Prayer is being aware of God’s presence in all the events of our life. O’Leary goes on to say that prayer is self-awareness. When we awake to what is going on in our lives and all around us, God can speak to us. Prayer is the awareness that God is with us no matter what is going on. Sometimes in an imperfect and evolving world, we have to suffer through life events with the hope that all will be well.
All this is by way of preface to saying that later in the day I had a powerful experience that shuddered through my being, a profound realization. It was a Merton-like epiphany! God incarnate in the cosmos was speaking to me through the rainbow. Even when it is dark and stormy, God is with me. Now when I think about squalls in my life, I immediately envision the rainbow and know that all shall be well. The rainbow, the sign of the covenant for Noah, is a symbol of God in me and with me. God told Noah, “This rainbow is the sign of the Covenant I have established between me and all life on earth.” God is the life-force in the cosmos and in our hearts. God is Love-Force evolving. The Force is truly with us!
The rainbow symbolizes hope. Julian of Norwich understood this, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
I will end with this prayer from William Cleary:
The future is full of promise, Holy Mystery, if only because we discern your forces of evolution at work everywhere. Every opening daffodil, every growing child, every glimmer of human enlightenment, every bodily process of healing tells us the future is not fearsome but is full of potential. Your face is hidden, your name unknown; still we turn to you in faith and confidence. Creating Evolutionary Spirit, we hear your comforting voice in the steady music of the unfolding creation, in harmonies and dissonances of the world around us into which we pour our humble efforts. We give thanks to exist, and to be in some way the joy of your heart. Amen. (William Cleary. Prayers to an Evolutionary God (Kindle Locations 89-93). Kindle Edition.)

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