Great Yarmouth

Searching for Rainbows

April 2020 - Searching for Rainbows (to be included in the EDP May 2020)

For me one of the most poignant moments of lockdown came early on. The nation had only just been told that we needed to stay at home, and I was feeling stunned. Then on my phone screen appeared a photo sent by my sister. It was the image of a rainbow my young niece and nephew had created and put in their front window for passers-by to “make them feel happy if they are sad.”

It wasn’t just the moment of connection with my beloved family nor simply the innocent compassion of the children which affected me profoundly. Added to this was a sudden realisation of the appropriacy of the sign of the rainbow.

In a period when it sometimes feels like we are walking through a storm despite the bright sunshine outside, it is good to be reminded that beauty and joy, like a rainbow, can occur because of the downpour. I’ve seen this demonstrated in the response to Covid-19 in Great Yarmouth. There is much sadness and mourning during this season, and grief must be given space for expression.

However, through the rain I’ve glimpsed the colours of hope.

I’m involved with churches and the community coming together to enable the provision of hundreds of food deliveries to people who are self-isolating and hot meals to those who are vulnerable. I’ve seen individuals reaching out to their neighbours with acts of kindness. I’ve witnessed a sense of solidarity and gratitude as we come together each Thursday night to show our appreciation for those on the frontline. And I’ve observed people who can no longer meet face-to-face, finding ways to bring a little encouragement and joy through letters, gifts, telephone and online gatherings.

In the Bible the rainbow also has powerful symbolism. It is the mark of God’s presence and His faithfulness to His promises even when the world seems full of destruction and disaster. It was a reminder to Noah that God had brought Him safely through the flood and would never abandon him or the generations to come.

It is also a symbol which is used in the Bible’s description of heaven to remind us that even when this world seems lonely or frightening, if we trust in Jesus we have the certainty of His healing, comforting presence for eternity beyond death.

As we continue to navigate our way through this tempest, I’m praying that each day you would be able to catch, out of the corner of your eye, a rainbow: the gentle shades of human selflessness and the radiant hues of God’s love.