What do rainbows, clover, gold and leprechauns have to do with spring? In March, we look forward to the first days of spring when green things are popping out all over, including clover, and rainbows sparkle brilliantly through the spring rains. Many folks also enjoy celebrating an Irish holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. This global celebration of Irish culture occurs on or around March 17. It particularly remembers St. Patrick, one of Ireland’s patron saints, who ministered Christianity in Ireland during the fifth century. The shamrock (or clover) is symbolically associated with Ireland, St. Patrick, and mythical leprechauns, who supposedly hide their gold in pots at the end of rainbows.
Of course, real rainbows don’t have pots of gold at their end, however, they are a symbol of a covenant promise, God’s glory and hope for the world. When Noah, his family and all the animals got off the ark, God promised Noah he would never again destroy the whole earth with a flood. And to seal the promise, he placed the rainbow in the sky as a reminder.
“I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth…When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:13,16)
From another perspective, the rainbow is often seen near the throne of God when the Bible uses words to describe His majestic presence. We see this in Ezekiel 1:28, when God appeared to send Ezekiel to speak a message to the Israelites. Ezekiel describes what he saw in these words:
“Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”
Again, in Revelation 4:3, John uses a similar description in his vision of the throne of God:
“And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.”
The rainbow is so lovely and such a delight to see that probably every child has colored its curves at one time or another. And it is significant that God has chosen it as a symbol of his promise and a reflection of his glory. The most perfect reflection of his glory is the face of Jesus, his life, his death, and his resurrection. The true gold at the end of the rainbow is the hope we find in Jesus, and the promise of life eternal in heaven. We invite you to come and see for yourself the “rainbow of promise”.