Two sorts of rainbows.

alert

Today I remember that all third graders in the U.S. have lived their entire lives in a state of war, a country in which orange is not a popsicle flavor or a color of the rainbow but “high alert,” where “Mission accomplished” is an ironic statement, where images of naked men on dog chains are no longer noteworthy, where men of Muslim faith are the stereotypical bad guy of film and news rather than the Russians I grew up seeing in movies like Die Hard.  I remember the year 1989, the year I was eight myself, when the Berlin Wall fell and the tears, hope, and ecstasy of the end of war connected the hearts of Westerners across the world.  I remember the end of war.  I do.  It has happened in other places, in other times, and we have violated our promises and forgotten what we are capable of.

I remember another promise, one I didn’t make and wasn’t present for.  It was between one man’s family and God, and it included a rainbow over the soggy, destroyed earth, covered in rotting, bloated animal carcasses and the silence of a world stripped of human voices. A promise of hope, resurrection, and universal redemption, the forgiveness of Godself.

And then I am reminded, against my will, of a promise made to Rwandans after the genocide there, “Never again.”  The genocide of Armenians of a hundred years past, the following slaughters of Bosnians and Sudanese later.  I think of the Holocaust of the Second World War, the disappearance of thousands of Salvadorans and Dominicans in the ’70’s and ’80’s and the changes wrought in the course of history for those countries, digging an untold rut into their futures. I think of those children who were born into, grew through, developed their little selves during those war-times.  And I grieve.  Because we are not learning from our history, the history of humanity in conflict with ourselves, of the damage we inflict on our own heritage and the well-being of our collective soul.

I pray for the promise of a rainbow to reveal itself once again, for God to give us a sign that the damage we do to ourselves in the world is not only redeemable, but transformable.  That there is hope for promises to be kept, that “Never again” need not be an empty phrase, but a commitment to justice and healing for all people. That eight-year olds need never grow into a world of war, but might know the wondrous celebration of its end.

Amen.

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1 Comment »

  1. Nancy Day-Achauer Said:

    Amen.


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