‘Richard Of York Gained Battles In Vain’. Is that the mnemonic you were taught to learn the colours of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet? Perhaps you were taught another one. Rainbows always remind me of God’s original covenant with Noah after the Flood, a reminder of God’s presence.
I thought I would use the word ‘rainbow’ as a mnemonic for some Christian thoughts and themes, so begin with R for righteousness. Today, words like righteousness and holiness tend to have negative connotations. There’s a tendency to associate them with being self-righteous or holier than thou. At heart, however, these words are about right living, living as God would have us live by listening to his instructions and following them. Originally these instructions were set out in the Law, but the people couldn’t seem to get it right. Then Jesus came to show the way but he knew that after his death, people would remain in need of help, so the Holy Spirit came. The Spirit is God’s special envoy to our hearts, sent to guide us in the ways of righteousness.
In the West the Hebrew word tsedaqah (which is translated as righteousness in the Bible) is generally associated with self-orientated righteousness, but the word is about other-orientated righteousness. God’s people are supposed to be a justice-orientated community. Christ came to bring freedom/fullness of life for all. If we’re not bringing freedom for others, like the people of the past, we’re still not getting it right.
At the moment we’re seeing lots of rainbows around as a mark of thanks for the NHS. Whenever you see one this week, it might also act as a prompt to reflect on whatever I’ve shared here on that particular day. God bless!