Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Real Message of the Rainbow

Reflections on the Readings

June 28, 2015 - Year B
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Real Message of the Rainbow

Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hoped for the wages of holiness, nor discerned the prize for blameless souls; 
for God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of his own eternity, (or nature) 
but through the devil's envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it. (Wisdom 2:21-24)

This past Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States of America struck down any state laws banning same-sex marriage. News reports stated that SCOTUS had made same-sex marriage the law of the land. No such thing happened given that the Supreme court is not a legislative body. What the majority opinion did was strike down state laws banning same-sex marriages. 

President Obama stated that on the question of same-sex marriage, "Justice arrived like a thunderbolt." In recent years the President has been vocal on how his view of marriage has evolved. And he believes that everyone should evolve with him even though as recently as four years ago he said that his Christian faith informed him when he stated that marriage is between one man and one woman. In celebration of the decision of the Supreme court, the President had the White House bathed in lights depicting the colors of the rainbow Friday evening. 

We must remember that SCOTUS is not a modern day Mount Sinai, even given the President's 'thunderbolt' comment. However, Moses, upon ascending Mount Sinai did encounter a Holy God descending upon the Mount in fire and smoke. Trumpet blast, thunder and lightening shook the Mount as God wrote on stone tablets with his finger the Ten Commandments. 

Although I am not surprised by the Supreme Court's decision, I am appalled. The fundamental unit of any society is the family. That understanding has been the bedrock, the very foundation of every civilization since the Garden of Eden. And I say that without any animus toward those who identify as LGBTQ. My list of friends, teachers, acquaintances, and colleagues include individuals on this list. My entire life I've tried to be a bridge builder in the hope that I might be the face of Jesus to everyone I meet and know. They have included adulterers, drunkards, liars, homosexuals, thieves, idolaters, and robbers. In fact, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 that the Church in Corinth included such as these whom St. Paul now describes as washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. ( 1Corinthians 6:9-11)

We can rejoice about the parish at Corinth as we can about every Christian church filled with sinners saved by grace because:

- The Bible says that Jesus is a friend of sinners and that he ate and drank with them. (Luke 7:34)

- The Bible says that God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)


 - God doesn't hold grudges for the Bible says that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting our trespasses against us. (2 Corinthians 5:19) God is not mad at us or anyone. God loves us and everyone. Nor can we be angry or hostile toward our neighbor whom God loves.

 -The Bible says that God has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

 -The Bible says that now is the acceptable time; now, is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

- The Bible says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away.(2 Corinthians 5:17)

The SCOTUS decision does not change one thing about what we believe about marriage and what has always been true about marriage. Especially now, however, as the Bible says, we must not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith. (Romans 1:16)

The real meaning of the rainbow is how God remembers his covenant with Noah every time he sees the bow in the cloud. What is that covenant? It's that God loves us; that he will never allow a flood to cover the whole earth again. The message of God's rainbow is about a loving God who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)


Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at:

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