Tuesday in Holy Week. Hope has come centre-stage in the past couple of days, and the rainbow as a symbol of hope too. In a letter yesterday accompanying her un-birthday gift of a new, multi-coloured bookmark (reminder to self: read more books!) one of our grand-daughters wrote: ‘It’s a rainbow because people are putting rainbows in their window to make people happy.’
And the rainbow is such an ancient sign. Early in the book Genesis, the first in the Bible, the writer has the Lord say to Noah and his family after they survive the great flood: ‘I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth … the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.’ And the sign is powerful, resonant. The poet William Wordsworth wrote of his heart ‘leaping up’ on seeing a rainbow; and a hundred years ago the writer D H Lawrence called his novel of hope and re-creation in the Nottinghamshire countryside ‘The Rainbow’.
We need hope. And for Christian faith, hope is personal, not just an abstract quality. So the Psalmist writes, in the Psalm set for today: ‘You are my hope, O Lord God, my confidence since I was young. I have been sustained by you ever since I was born.’ In challenging or even terrifying times, we may turn to the One who created and sustains us; the One whose love never ceases.