“God said. . . When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. (Genesis 9:16, NRSV)
Scripture records a story of a great flood that God sent to destroy all the earth’s creatures, human and otherwise, due to human wickedness. This passage comes near the end of the story, where God tells Noah that he regrets the devastation, and the bow in the clouds will serve as a reminder, to both God and his creation, that this kind of destruction will never happen again. God calls this a covenant, and the bow, or rainbow, was known to ancient people as a symbol of a weapon of the Divine Warrior. To place the bow in the sky was to say that He was done with the destruction. Further, covenants are not contracts. Covenants, as God of the Scriptures uses it, is to say that “This I will do, regardless of what you do.” God’s promise is not dependent on human word or deed! What a great way to begin Advent, as we concentrate on listening to another of God’s covenantal promises—He comes, himself, among us!
Lord God, teach us to trust in the strength of your promises. Amen.
– Mary Parrish, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Falls City