Light and Rainbows – by Carolyn McPhee

RainbowI have been intrigued and in awe of rainbows and prisms since I was a young child. Many years ago, I hung a single glass prism in the east facing window of our cottage to catch the morning light. Over the years, I have shared my enthusiasm for prisms and rainbows with many of my cottage guests—gently setting the prism in motion on a sunny morning to fill the room with dancing rainbows. Most of my guests thought it was lovely, but it wasn’t until I had grandchildren that I truly had a captive audience! My daughter Katie has three little boys—Ben is six and our little twins Jacob and Matthew are three. I was blessed to spend a good part of the summer at the cottage with my daughter and my grandsons. And every sunny morning we all delighted in the beautiful rainbows created by the light passing through our prism. It only took the sunlight and a gentle nudge of the prism to turn our living room into a magical land of brilliant colour. The boys would run around the room chasing the rainbows, their voices filled with delight! Every sunny morning was a new experience—they never seemed to tire of our little ritual. And I never tired of seeing and hearing their joy and wonder—it brought so much light into my life!

We spent Labour Day Weekend at the cottage—one final summer weekend to mark the end of our beautiful summer. Saturday dawned bright and sunny—full of light—a perfect day for the rainbows to dance in our cottage. The boys were delighted. That afternoon, clouds gathered very quickly and we had a very brief, but heavy rainfall. I was out on the screened in porch, when I saw through the trees, a beautiful rainbow appearing over the lake as the rain stopped and the sun came out from the clouds. I called my daughter and the boys and we all ran down to the dock. There before us was one of the most beautiful rainbows that I have ever seen! A perfect arc stretching from one shore to the other. The colours were brilliant and perfect. And as we watched in wonder, a second rainbow formed above the first perfect one. It was truly a magnificent sight! And equally as wondrous as the rainbow, was seeing our little boys—their eyes filled with awe and amazement, their little voices bursting with excitement. My heart was filled to overflowing with love, joy and light.

Light.  Contemporary theologian Dorothee Soelle writes “Light illumines the world and we can immerse ourselves in it.”  While I was at the cottage I found it so easy to immerse myself in light. Light was all around me in the beauty of God’s world and in the love of my family. I felt deep gratitude—and I also felt removed from the stresses and challenges of our world. But these are difficult times—these Covid times. Summer is drawing to a close and the long, often dark winter lies ahead. How do we keep seeking the light and how do we keep our hearts and our minds open to love, joy and wonder?

As Michelle said in a recent sermon, God calls us to clothe ourselves in the armour of light. We belong to the light and we belong to the love. Last week we gathered online as Spirit Sisters. We yearn to be together again in a shared physical space, but we were so very grateful that we could gather virtually and be together in spirit. I could feel the light and the love in our gathering. We all belonged there in the circle of caring.

It will take courage to keep finding light and wonder in our lives. We will all have days when the clouds block the sun and and the light can’t shine through the prism to create the rainbows. Our little boys were disappointed on cloudy days when the dancing rainbows were not available. But we tried our best to reassure them that we would have another sunny day soon and the rainbows would return. And we will have days when we find that something that brings light into our life doesn’t last as long as we wish it would. Just like the beautiful rainbow at the lake—I felt that I could stand there immersed in the wonder of it forever. But too soon the colours started to fade and the arc was no longer complete.  The memory of it lives in my heart and I try to have faith that I will see many more beautiful rainbows.

Loving God, guide us with your light through these challenging times. Help us to keep our hearts and minds open to the light, love, joy and wonder that is available to us. May we be grateful for all your blessings of light in our lives.  Amen.