Who doesn’t love a rainbow at the end of a storm? Remember the Sing a Rainbow song? Peggy Lee and a plethora of others recorded it back in the day. I remember singing it during chorus class when I was in eighth grade. It’s funny how some things stick in our brains – I can sing it today as easily as I did so many, many years ago.
“Red and yellow, and pink, and green,
Purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, too”
It was a cute song and often used to teach children colors, although it isn’t accurate in terms of the colors of the rainbow. According to Wikipedia, pink and purple aren’t spectral colors. Pink is a shade variation and purple is a combination of red and blue, however, the brain interprets the combination as purple. I learned the colors of the rainbow by remembering the name Roy G Biv (same first five colors, then indigo and violet).
Youngsters sitting at the knee of their Sunday School teachers learn that God put a rainbow in the sky after the great flood as a promise or covenantal sign between God and mankind that the earth would never be destroyed by water again. Native American cultures view the rainbow as a bridge between Heaven and Earth, and in mythology, similar to the Native American cultures, the rainbow opens the portals to the gods. Some see the rainbow as a sign of good luck – the notion that at the end of the rainbow one will find a pot of gold. The Gay Pride movement adopted the rainbow as a symbol of diversity and inclusiveness. Isn’t it interesting that a natural phenomenon of refraction, reflection, and light dispersion through rain droplets can have so many interpretations?
There are no bad or negative connotations associated with a rainbow – they are symbols of hope, love, diversity, peace, equality, new beginnings, and eternal life. Who doesn’t like rainbows, yet the symbolism and cultural and spiritual interpretations do not bear witness to the universal love of rainbows.
How can we claim to love something natural in our world and at the same time disparage the things it represents? Diversity and equality, whether racial, ethnic, gender, or sexual, are not cherished. I have seen banners in churches depicting God’s hand reaching through a rainbow to the hand of mankind. It’s a beautiful representation of equality, yet rampant inequalities exist. What about peace? Do we cherish peace? The nightly newscasts are full of the latest local shootings and war reports from around the world. The latest shooting I heard was of a three-year who shot her father while he was napping. Did she intentionally shoot her father? Probably not, but how often had that tiny tike witnessed violence on TV or in video games?
The next time a rainbow appears in the sky, consider what the rainbow represents to you. In what ways do your thoughts, feelings, or opinions need to change to match your interpretation of the rainbow? What if the entire world did the same……?