A few months ago, we put a rainbow on the lectern in the sanctuary and on our church sign. I'd like to take the opportunity to explain why.
We put the rainbow on our sign as a declaration of welcome; yes, to the LGBT community, but that welcome is much broader. Many folks have a story where the church has hurt them, betrayed them, made them feel unlovable, caused them to doubt whether they are loved by God. Single parents, divorced couples, mentally or physically disabled folk, to name just a few have experience hurt. The damage that has been done by churches and by people claiming to be followers of Jesus is astronomical. And it continues.
Which is why the rainbow is important. Because I dream of a world where no kid wonders if God loves them or not. I dream of a world where no person shies away from a community because they don’t know if they can be authentically themselves. I dream of a world where we don’t have to put a rainbow on our sign as a public witness that God unconditionally loves ALL people because it’s just a given, that of course God welcomes all.
I dream of that world. I think God has been dreaming for a long time about that world. Every time I see rainbows, I think about the covenant made to Noah, after the flood. In the story, God hangs the rainbow in the sky and tells Noah never again will that damage happen. From there on out, God was all in. No matter what, God promised that nothing would come between God and people again. And that sign, that boldly colored rainbow, would remind both God and Noah of that.
The rainbow on our lectern and on our sign is meant to proclaim that same message. It proclaims a message that every person (not just gay, lesbian, bi, and trans folks), needs to hear and know: God’s church is open to all. No qualifiers. No conditions. Just come as you are. That’s the core of what Jesus knew and taught.
Gay or straight, white or black or brown, tall or short, fat or skinny, poor or rich, extroverted or introverted, left-handed or right handed, child or adult, democrat or republican, abled or disabled, whoever you are, wherever you are on life’s journey, you are beloved, both just as you are and as who you are growing to be day by day.
The rainbow matters to me because it shares a message every person ought to hear: you are loved by God and by a gathered group of Jesus following folks who strive to be bold enough, crazy enough, to affirm and celebrate the worth of every single person.
May we ALL be bold enough to proclaim that.
With the Greatest of Hope!