“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.’” (The Message, Genesis 9:12-16)
Two days before the big day, we arrived at the wedding venue – a lush vineyard in South Georgia. It was raining and not the kind of weather we wanted for our son's and almost daughter-in-law's outdoor wedding.
The wedding party began to arrive, and, in the rain, we unloaded the luggage, the food, the decorations, and everything else that you could possibly need for a wedding weekend.
Despite the weather, our party of wedding participants was excited and joyful. We gathered for a casual dinner when tornado warnings popped up on our phones and televisions.
The mother-of-the-bride and I tried not to imagine the reception tent blowing away or where we were going to hunker down with this tribe of bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Much to our relief, the winds subsided, and the rains stopped. When it was safe, our merry band decided to venture out of our house to see if there was any damage to the vineyard property. We opened the front door, stepped out onto the porch, looked across the field, and to our delight we saw the most beautiful rainbow arching its way across the sky.
This rainbow was unlike any rainbow I had ever seen before. You could see its beginning and its end. It was a breathtaking moment – one of those moments when it feels like God is speaking your name.
Like with Noah long ago, the rainbow was a sign of a covenant between God and his creation – the promise of God’s provision and presence. This rainbow felt like a sign that God was speaking to Chase and Ashlyn. God’s message was not to say that they were more special than any other bride and groom but to remind them of God’s promise to be present with them. It was a reminder that the promises and vows that God makes and that we make to each other are important and binding.
You may be saying to yourself that I read too much into this natural phenomenon of water and light that often occurs after a storm, and maybe you would be right. But if we don’t look for God in these things, then how will God come alive in us? How will God speak to our hearts or encourage our spirits if we don’t look for beauty and promises in this world?
On this wedding weekend, we grabbed hold of this rainbow sign and claimed it for our own. We claimed that God’s banner of presence was over Chase and Ashlyn. We leaned into the rainy weekend and found that showers bring blessings and that between the showers you can stand under rainbows and set off fireworks. Between the vows, the laughter, and the tears, God was present. God was shining the light of love upon us and reminding us that God is with us all the way.