This Sunday is the First Sunday in Lent or “Purple Sunday” as we called it at Covenant. The Season of Lent is usually devoted to looking down the long journey of faith to the miracle of Easter and the Resurrection. The hope is that we will employ efforts to spiritually enrich our lives and deepen our faith journeys as we recall all Jesus did for us to make Easter and the Resurrection a victory of salvation, hope and faith.
Unfortunately, too many folks treat Easter as the last time they should be in church for another year or at least until Christmas. Even more unfortunate is that the day of Easter is all about the amount of attention many give to their faith journey. No wonder faith for many is a chore, a burden and a struggle instead of being a source of joy, hope and comfort. For many folks, faith is just a means to an end of their earthly existence. It’s all about getting to heaven; yet they are miserable as “hell” on earth.
Perhaps this is so because too many folks treat their faith journey like it’s chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The thing everyone knows about gold in Irish tradition is that pots of it languish at the “end of the rainbow,” guarded by a leprechaun. Sounds great, huh? Except for one teeny, tiny flaw and that is no one can ever FIND the end of a rainbow. The “end” always “moves,” shifting onward, westward, eastward or somewhere. No one ever finds leprechaun gold, because no one can ever find the end of the rainbow. Maybe the problem with our faith journey is that we are chasing the end of it (heaven) instead of enjoying the journey. It’s like chasing the end of the rainbow instead just enjoying the rainbow itself and what it means.
The rainbow is the only celestial body given divine importance in the Old Testament. And God’s promise is that when God sees the rainbow, God remembers the covenant between God and us. As we move down the long journey toward the miracle of Easter and the Resurrection, maybe instead of chasing the end of the rainbow of faith, we need to start our journey with the joy and comfort of just knowing that we are “Part of God’s Rainbow Covenant.” That in itself just might bring some much needed joy and comfort on our faith journey.
Oh, by the way, this is also the last Sunday of Black History Month. Black History Month is a time we look back at the long journey of African American contributions to the life and history of our country. The Apostle Peter tells us to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …” So this Sunday we will hear a testimony from an African American member of our congregation of the hope she has in knowing that she is “Part of God’s Rainbow Covenant.”
Join us in worship at Covenant for this Purple Sunday, the First in Lent, and the last Sunday of Black History Month. As is our tradition at Covenant, we love purple; so wear something purple and become a part of the sea of purple. I will be preaching a sermon called “Part of God’s Rainbow Covenant” using the scriptural text of Genesis 9:12-17 and I Peter 3:15-17.