Day 4 – December 4
Ornament – Rainbow
As I write, it’s a sunny, blue sky day, though the few days preceding tiptoed in with drip and drizzle. I’ve watched as holiday lights, radiant white, have welcomed drip and drop to slide down each bulb as if they came simply to be part of the festivities.
A bit of precipitation feels appropriate, as we are here, held, holding our hineini, inside an ark, set apart for a season.
I’m savoring the rain and these moments. A light rain is not our norm. When it comes to rain here, we say it’s Old Testament or nothing. Rarely a spritz or sprinkle, our rains are most often downpours.
This was not the case for those in our story today. Dwelling in a desert, rain was the last thing they expected, as they were accustomed to nary a drop. The only thing drier than the dirt that stirred beneath their feet were the hearts beating within. Except for Noah’s.
Inside, he carried a cry that he would willingly take all the way to praise. For he was not unaware of what flowed through the land. But it was not a flood that could sweep him away. He was solid. He was faithful.
Pappa heard his heartbeat and it so matched His own. God could trust Noah, because Noah trusted God. Noah’s trust released Heaven’s hope. For this story is not one of destruction, but restoration.
Noah was not simply invited to build an ark. Though that would be a leap of faith, there was a greater risk he took. For his invitation was to a ‘geshem’, which means “a bounteous, big, abundant rain.” Further definitions of this word mean “to wash away all that hinders abundance or bounty.” Noah didn’t just need to know that Pappa would keep him safe in the belly of a wooden whale, but that He was bringing something better. A bounty to replace all the bitter that had taken root.
God’s heart was desperate to pour out on His people again. One was chosen to stand beneath the pitcher. One who said, “Whatever it takes, God.” His agreement with God included building a boat but began with allowing his own heart to be flooded, revealed and renewed. Noah hadn’t forgotten who God was, but he ached to remember who God still longed to be.
The first flood was of Noah. The second, that of the earth. For many, time stood still, or was frozen by the could have’s and should have beens. But for Noah and his family, time moved as swiftly as the yes that flew from his heart at Pappa’s invitation. Noah was a time redeemer, leaving no lag between Pappa’s invitation and his agreement.
Later, the Israelites would be invited not to ride a flood, but walk through one. But they would resist God and time would become a commodity they would wish to have back. Noah’s journey was counted by days, theirs measured in years. Resistance is an exercise in futility that draws deeply and does not give back.
What a sight met Noah as he disembarked from the ark. A rainbow, snuggled within a cloud that said nothing would ever be the same again.
A sign, a seal. A promise fulfilled. And a declaration to the earth that God would look near and far from that day on, for a people with a heart to restore, redeem and return every drop of Heaven to its fulness. A people unaffected by what lurked in corners and crevices, because they know Who dwells in the center of their heart.
I have long loved rainbows. In junior high, I didn’t have a rainbow phase. I had a rainbow craze. If there was not rainbow upon it, I wouldn’t wear, sleep under it, write in it or with it. Whenever rainbow’s tint and tone was overlain upon skies blue, I would lay beneath it (upon a rainbow blanket, of course) until all the vibrant colors faded and were deposited back into Heaven’s vault. I was all about rainbows!!
Though all I own is no longer rainbow laden, I am still marveled by the mystery of a sacred scaffold of diffracted water and diffused light suspended in the span of space. A bridge that beckons us to canvas and Creator.
Before science sorted rain’s bow from a magical manifestation to matter of fact, it was seen as suddenly sown into the fabric of formation.
And it has come to pass in My sending a cloud over the earth that the bow has been seen in the cloud, and I have remembered my covenant which is between Me and you, and every living creature among all flesh, and the waters become no more a deluge to destroy all flesh; and the bow has been in the cloud, and I have seen it – – to remember the covenant, age-during between God and every living creature among all flesh which is on the earth. Genesis 9:16 (YLT)
This passage, this pass through, is much, much more than droplets bringing delight instead of dread. For the curator of covenant is vowing to Himself, upon Himself, that what He encrypts will be transcribed for His people. He will remember, so we know.
Storms will come still. They must, to reveal all our remedies and reliances. All the re-sources we would sight as similar. Despite storms, life will continue as carrier for those who remember and recount the whole story. The True Tale.
The flood and its ark and bow, its arched bow, remind us that He suffers the impossible with us, so we can look toward the advent of the possible with Him. But we, His people, don’t like to be contained. We don’t always see a ramp made from door as freedom from the flood of stress, worry and war. We often want to wade in ourselves and try to swim, somewhere else.
Pappa knows that floods change the land they fill. We have seen it in the topography of the land we love, Arubbah. Our choice was to see ruin or restoration. The river that runs through Arubbah was seen after by some as eroding, but to our wide eyes and beating hearts, it was expanded. Splendor was enlarged. Room was made for more.
So, if He comes, in coming days, to flood the world with Himself, will we see His coming as a provision or a problem?
After Noah’s Ark opened, Pappa sighed a sign and signed His name upon creation and covenant. In every second since, we have been living in a remaking world. The bow in the billows is like a blade remade.
A bow. ‘Qeshet’ in Hebrew. That which is used with arrows to defeat an enemy. The enemy.
‘Qis’ or ‘qos’ the term used biblically for a bow He bends to shoot an arrow.
From the Semitic root, “bow” means to be curved or bent. Because coming to us, for us was a bowed bow. A humbled piece of Pappa, heavy with the weight of us. Hoped by the wait of us. Leaning love. The only weapon that could ever wield us.
An arch cast across the atmosphere, with colored complexion for the bleached and bankrupt. Light distributed and dispersed, to us, through us. So all whose lives seem ended, who have cried “out and over” can be overwhelmed by the flood of His finding fellowship.
A bend in the sky bridges the chasm of how far love can go. For doesn’t an arrow nestled inside bow, pulled taught become the sign of the cross? He the bow. We the arrow.
His passion is our pursuit. Of each other. For we all get caught in storms unsuspecting and unprepared.
Jesus, the light of our connection, reveals the beauty of being connected. A Son sent, so all could be delivered, not destroyed.
Sometimes there are ashes, and we are dust. Yet, what poured from the vein of the cross pulses through us, the tip of the crown of His coming. Over and over.
He will never water the world to destruction. Mankind will weary it though, like a flood. And we will be shot forth, hued and holy. To pierce and pillar.
In Hebrew bow is ‘qos’ spelled, “qof-vav-shin.”
Qof – The sacrifice
Vav – will connect us
Shin – to the passionate love of God
The sacrifice will connect us to the passionate love of God. Let that sink and seep. He came that we would never be disconnected. He offered flesh upon forest so we would never lose sight of Who He connected us to.
When I call Him Bow – I am acutely aware that He pierces. He pierces me. And if He pierces, I need never puncture.
*There are many different Jesse Tree ornament sets. They are mostly the same, but there can be variances in the stories chosen. The most evident variance is usually in days 6 & 7. If you don’t have the ornament listed, no worries, just follow the story.