I’m trying my best to write something for Church in Progress every Sunday. For the last few days I’ve been hoping that the reading for the first Sunday in Lent could somehow be linked with the Pride celebrations currently happening in Auckland. Finally, I opened Text this Week, held my breath and clicked on the readings listed.
Easily predicted, I clicked on them in this order … Mark, 1 Peter, Psalms and then finally, without much hope I clicked on Genesis. It was, what I like to call, a Blessed Coincidence (yes, with capitals).
Genesis 9:8-17 from The Message translation
Then God spoke to Noah and his sons: “I’m setting up my covenant with you including your children who will come after you, along with everything alive around you—birds, farm animals, wild animals—that came out of the ship with you. I’m setting up my covenant with you that never again will everything living be destroyed by floodwaters; no, never again will a flood destroy the Earth.”
God continued, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth.”
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I’ve set up between me and everything living on the Earth.”
I was so happy to find this reading in front of me! It would have been great to have 1 John 4:7-8, Galatians 3:23-29 or Acts 8:26-40 as they are all affirming passages but hey … this week we get a massive rainbow and a promise!
This promise wasn’t just with Noah or with Noah’s family – it’s really clear that it was a promise to every living thing, which includes you and me.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet I also found this incredible reflection from Rev. Br. Shawn Francis Benedict who is the Appointed Pastor of Ray of Hope Church In NYC.
“In 1994 at the Stonewall 25 parade in New York City people stretched and carried a one-mile long sewn rainbow flag. This flag was made of heavy flag nylon, and it was the width of a two-lane large city street. Pictures were taken from helicopters as it flowed past the United Nations building. Every inch of the entire parameter of the
flag was filled with hands holding it up and moving it along the entire parade route. What a tremendous spectacle it was. Pictures of the one-mile rainbow flag appeared in all the national newsmagazines. Most media agencies had wonderful pictures from the air and pictures of the people making if float through the streets of NY.
When I saw the one-mile rainbow flag the Holy Spirit moved me very deeply in my heart. What I heard in my mind and heart was so significant to me that I can almost recall it here in detail. True, these aren’t exactly the words I reflected on that day, but these words are very close. I want you experience some of what I experienced God saying that day. It went something like this, God said:
There it is, my rainbow. I celebrate today my covenant as I see your rainbow flags everywhere. I see my rainbow in the hands of children, of young men and women, and of the elderly, on your pets, hats, bags, and I am remembering and keeping my covenant with all of you right now as I see you. …. Fly my rainbow! You make it look so beautiful! Whenever I see your rainbows I will remember how much I love you. Fly my rainbow with pride today and every day. I want you to fly it and remember how much I love you.”
The Flag of Tolerance which flies proudly at LGBTQI events is about unity in our diversity. God loves every part! May we live like it’s Pride everyday! Enjoying every minute of being who God created us to be.
Below: Sophie from Church in Progress rejoices as she reflects on how affirming it has been to walk in the Pride Parade 2018.