Today, the image of a luminous rainbow, symbolic of God’s everlasting covenant with the Hebrew people, is juxtaposed to the stark isolated sun swept desert where the Spirit leads Jesus for his forty day experience in preparation for his ministry in the Gospel of Mark. The invitation is twofold: the gift of remembering God’s unconditional love and the call to embrace the desert journey of transformation.
In Genesis we listen to God speaking to Noah telling him what is to happen because of Noah’s strong faith in the midst of chaos: “I am establishing my covenant with you…and this is the sign I am giving you and all ages to come…I set my bow in the clouds…and when I see it, I will remember that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all living things.”
This image of the rainbow had been a special gift to us, as Community, when we lived on Chelton Road in Colorado Springs. Our Sister Marilyn Krier’s photograph captured the beauty of the rainbow when its arching beauty connected our Monastery chapel and living quarters with our Center, which had been our Benet Hill Academy. It was as if God was saying to us: “You have given me the gift of your monastic life, prayer and ministry and this rainbow is my visible promise of a blessed future.”
After our survival of the Black Forest fire two years ago, we also experienced the beauty of the rainbow over our new Monastery here in the Black Forest Area. Rainbows for us seem to be a unique connection with a God who continues to love us and call us to wholeness and holiness.
With gratitude we believe that we are called to ‘pay it forward’ and share this sacred space with you, our larger community.
This morning, In the midst of our winter landscape, it may be a little difficult to travel with Jesus into the sun swept desert to prepare for his ministry. However, with the Spirit’s nudging, perhaps we can enter into the silence and delve within ourselves to the empty and sometimes darker spaces where we often dare not or choose not to explore.
Together let us follow Jesus’ footprints and allow ourselves to be surrounded and enveloped with his love that heals our wounds of ‘we and they’, ‘individualism’, and ‘frenetic activity’.
Anne Stedman, OSB