In this Sunday’s Lectionary readings, the passage from the Hebrew Scriptures is the end of the account of Noah and The Great Flood. Noah and his family have listened to God, built the ark, and have now been cooped up for months as the torrential waters pounded against the wood of their somewhat tenuous residence, drowning the very earth and all the foundations that they knew. Noah sends a bird out to “test the waters”. The bird returns. After several attempts, the bird finally does not return. The land is ready; the waters have receded and the earth has reappeared. And there–there in the sky is a splash of color, a bow in the clouds, the sign of God’s promise that Creation will never again be separated from its Creator.

The Celts understood the rainbow as a bridge, a threshold between what is and what will be. It is, in Celtic terms, a “thin place”, as the thin gaseous vapors form a sort of bridge in the clouds between one way of being and the next. This is the bridge to promise and discovery; this is the bridge to life. Hey….maybe there really is a pot of gold at the end!

This is a perfect passage for Lent. We are indeed in a threshold season, a season between one world and the next, between death and eternity, between who we are and what we will be. Lent is not a season where we withdraw, pulling ourselves away from our lives and the world. For some of us, we think we need to do that, giving up things that are part of our lives to remind us of our connection to God. Don’t get me wrong. Lent is a contemplative and retrospective season, a season when we take a good hard look at our lives, at their failings and misgivings, at the ways that we have been complicit in the continued crucifixion of goodness and grace and love. But the retrospection is not to fill us with remorse or regret; it is to propel us forward through the threshold. It is to open to our eyes to the thin places, where the colors come alive and the way is clear.

The rainbow, the promise of hope, is, in physical terms, a reflection. It is a mirror of what surrounds it. And in that mirror, in that threshold, we see ourselves–our life, our death, and, our glorious resurrection. Because, after all, that IS the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

So go forth this season and seek the threshold–do not be afraid–it is filled with hope and promise like nothing you’ve ever known!

Grace and Peace,


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