“God gave Noah the Rainbow sign, no more water – fire next time…”-Mary Don’t You Weep
Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate. I have honored the day my whole life, from having no choice in the matter, to participating out of obligation, to opting in with my whole personhood. Young girlhood’s Easters were about my dress and whether the late Boston Spring would ruin the effect by necessitating a parka.
Do any children under ten possess the spiritual sophistication to perceive, even slightly, what kind of rainbow we celebrate, in all it’s blinding glory, this day?
Maybe those dresses were my first hint.
Reverend Phil preached his virtual sermon today amid floral arrangements beautiful enough to compete with the choir. Phil Jackson (who shares the name and mythical stature of the legendary Lakers coach), was coming off a Good Friday sermon that has been my personal raison d’etre for the last 48 hours.
Could today’s message compete, I wondered.
Just kidding. This man was made for back to back championships.
He spoke of how at a certain age everything begins to remind you of something that came before. For him, hearing the Carter Family’s ‘God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign’ tune recalled stumbling upon a James Baldwin celebration in college, in which the man himself was there! Reverend Phil crossed the literal and proverbial threshold to hear Baldwin bless the crowd with his knowledge pearls.
Listening to a hymn often sung by the congregation of the parish where he interned as a young Seminarian recalls God’s palpable presence in the room all those years ago.
We all have a salvation story made up of moments like these, Reverend Phil says.
As soon as I heard his “Amen”, I began jotting mine down.
I have a tattoo on my back of a pair of footprints that I got around the time my faith was coming into full bloom. People always ask if they are my child’s and I say no.
It’s a Jesus thing I say, and that usually shuts the conversation down.
If you’ve ever been depressed, the poem “Footprints” may resonate with you as well, though I advise against getting a tattoo.
In it, we hear of a dream in which Christ shows the dreamer proof of His abiding presence along life’s journey, displayed as a walk in the sand indicating two sets of footprints. Asked why there are passages showing the walker solo, Jesus simply says, that’s when I was carrying you.
Not abandoned in our darkness but cradled. Not dead, but alive.
That’s the treasure represented by Easter’s rainbow.
Despair is a Liar. It always was, always is, and always will be.