Catching Rainbows: Sharing in Diversity

“The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship … God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding” (Ps. 19:1, 4b–5a nlt).

I’ve been thinking about rainbows lately: rainbow trout, the rainbow-colored Swiss chard that grew in my garden this summer, and the little winter birds that display the various colours of the rainbow as they collectively scrape together the last of the seeds at the feeder. Poetically speaking:

If I could catch a rainbow, I’d wrap it in a special box.

If I could share a rainbow, I’d give a piece to anyone hurting.

If I could chase a rainbow across the world,

I’d try to make it land in Haiti.

I know the promise of rainbows

even though I can’t catch them or hold them

God throws them across the skies when we need them—

And I stare in wonder and awe at the incredible beauty of them.

Rainbows are signs of God’s promise to us. Sometimes, the world looks pretty grim. One just needs to listen to the news, open the newspaper, or go online to realize how much pain and brokenness surrounds us. Hurting families, sickness, natural disasters, political unrest, and alienation are all part of our reality. Is this new? Certainly not. What about the mess the world was in when Noah huddled in the ark with his family and the whole menagerie of smelly, noisy animals for forty rainy days and nights? I’m sure he wasn’t thinking about rainbows, but rather about how to get out of that predicament alive.

How do we reach God’s rainbows, and how do we share these “rainbows” with our children at school? How can we make our classroom a community that embraces the diversity reflected in our students, including varieties of familial experience: blended families, single-parent families, families of differing racial and ethnic backgrounds, and those who have experienced grief and loss? God gave Noah a promise when he felt discouraged, and he gives it to us: “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth” (Gen. 9:16). God is a covenant God, and he cares for all his children!

In reflecting on the topic of diversity in our schools, my thoughts turn to the diversity in our home lives. [This is only part of the article. Want to read more? Subscribe to the website by choosing "Register" from the menu above. It's free!]