The Rainbow of God's Promise

And what is a rainbow?

A rainbow is a beautiful thing. It is a multicolored arch that appears in the sky after a storm that displays for our eyes to see the full spectrum of colors in the sky. It is produced by the refraction of light, and it occurs when tiny droplets of water are suspended in the air and hit by sunlight at just the right angle.

In the scriptures, we are told that God placed His bow of promise in the sky after the rain of the flood of Noah’s day for all to see, (Genesis 9:16) and this has been interpreted over the years to be the rainbow. The rainbow has hence been seen as a sign of God’s everlasting covenant between Him and all flesh that is upon the earth. Like a rainbow across the sky the extent of his promise to redeem us spans over time, from the beginning to the end.

Like the many colors of the rainbow, God's everlasting covenant is a full spectrum of peace and love and life, and every good thing. Its a sign of the promise of God. We do not have to dream or pretend such a thing exists, somewhere in our imagination, somewhere over the rainbow, because the promise of God is real and we have not only the rainbow in the sky which can be seen, but the promise of God fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

The Bluebird

It was the well-known author, Henry David Thoreau who, in 1852, described the bluebird saying, “The bluebird carries the sky on his back.” Fifty years later, a man by the name of John Burroughs, himself a naturalist and author like Thoreau, added his poetic thought to Thoreaus sentiment, saying, “and the earth on its chest.”

The bluebird with "the sky on his back and the earth on his chest," is a beautiful sight to see! I have had a few make their homes in my year over the years and they do make one happy. Not only is it enlightening to see such a pretty blue color on a little bird as if flits through the sky, but my understanding is that long before the use of modern pesticides it made one happy to know they were around because they do indeed rid farm and garden of pesky, pesty, bugs! It's the "Bluebird of Happiness" they say."

You might be old enough, to remember, Walt Disney's Song of the South, (1946) where good ol’ Uncle Remus, sang, “ZIP-A-DEE-DO-DA,” while an animated bluebird danced upon his shoulder and twittered about the big screen, delighting him and audiences with it’s presence, but the idea of the Bluebird of Happiness didn't originate with Disney; it was Maurice Maeterlink, author of the1909 play, The Bluebird, that is credited with coining the phrase.

It might surprise you to know that the blue feathers of these beautiful, iridescently blue-colored birds, (like all other birds that have blue feathers,) are not really “blue” at all.

Apparently, the colors in cells of living things are usually formed by something called pigments, (material that absorbs certain colors of light and reflects other colors) and this is true of birds and feathers, however there are no “blue” pigments in bird feathers. The blue colors we see in birds are produced solely by the play of light upon the feather’s structure. In fact, bluebirds, when they are not in direct light, show their true pigmented color, which is not blue at all, it is either gray or brown which is why their undersides, in the shadow of the sun, is brown like the earth, as Burroughs noted.

Ornithologists, (people that study birds,) will tell you, feathers are very complex structures. They are an incredible and intricate example of design. I will tell you, this is God's design. You see, it's rather obvious upon examination that even an individual feather is and a remarkable things let alone a whole wingful when they lay collectively against one another to support a bird in flight. Engineers, that is, people who do the math to make a jet fly, will tell you, birds and their feathers are no accidental thing, for they are perfectly formed, (or is it, engineered?) for flight.

In addition to this incredible design factor birds have in their feathery wings, their feathers also have the remarkable ability to insulate birds from water and cold, a very important feature for a creature that must live outdoors. Their feather colors are notable too, because the colors of the feathers have the amazing mechanisms necessary to help the bird attract an appropriate mate, as well as provide the appropriate camouflage for each individual type of bird, all dependent on it's surroundings. The reality is that each and every feather on a bird, even those who do not fly, is important for their overall survival and the survival of their kind.

IIt’s important to take note that birds, do not act like airplanes, nor do they “have wings that are curved like the wing of an airplane. It’s the other way around, and it should be obvious that it is the detailed study of birds in flight that has made it possible for man to create machines that fly like birds. As we have observed soaring eagles, diving hawks, swooping owls and maneuvering swifts and swallows we have found the inspiration to build the very aircraft that we see and use today. Birds, no matter how foul they are, are amazing. They are nothing like the machines we build in which to fly, they are living creatures born with feathers and wings.

The scientific study of birds in flight has revealed to us that the wing of bird consists of tightly fitting, lightweight, air-trapping feathers. The individual feathers apparently “zip” into connection, into formation the others by means tiny barbs that connect with other barbs on other feathers and this is what forms the surface of the wing. This wing is then used to catch air and fly. This is amazing, but the amazement does not stop there. Individually, each bird feather has it’s own intricate internal structure, but if you look even closer, taking a microscopic view of a pigmentless blue feather, it is even more amazing.

A man by the name of Steve Hunt, writing for Discovery Science, quotes Dr. Richard Prum of the Natural History Museum of Kansas as he reported his findings in the November 5, 1998 edition of the Journal, Nature. According to Hunt, Prum describes the amazing blue-feather structures as “minuscule,” “seemingly random,” and “air-bubble-like.” Then he says that while they look like random air bubbles, “they are actually highly ordered, and ordered at just the right size and spatial scale to produce the blue colors of the feathers by a property called constructive interference."

Interesting, isn’t it. They are seemingly random, bubble-like structures, but only until someone with eyes to see more carefully studies them. Careful observation and understanding of what is being seen, suddenly becomes "highly ordered."

Prum observed that that these structures amazingly scattered the light that hit these structures in such a way as to canceled some of the colors of the light spectrum out. He noted that all of it was specifically canceled out except for the blue, which he says are selectively amplified by the way the tiny cells are in a particular formation.

He was amazed. It’s remarkable to even think about.

This process is what allows our eyes to see blue on the bluebird and in fact, on all feathers that are blue. None of the feather on any bird is blue due to pigmentation, it's all a play of light. What you see as blue is is dependent upon light shining on them, and your eyes reception of that light. We even see blue color on their feathers from any direction, even the bottom of the bird, just as long as there is light

I find it somewhat ironic that the so-called “bird of happiness” is “blue,” after all, when people talk about feeling “blue” it usually means that they are pensive, sad or depressed, not happy. People talk about getting “the blues,” meaning that they are feeling moody or melancholy, or they “sing the blues” when they are in low-spirited state of mind, in sorrow, or emotional distress and suffering. It's an enigma to me why this is the case.

"Why does a "blue" bird represent “happiness?” I wondered. I believe it is because the color blue has had different connotations besides sadness throughout human history.

The color blue has it’s own history. It is an esteemed color, thought of as being a color of high prestige and royal value. It has been known to represent qualities such as tranquillity, loyalty, will-power, self-control, honesty, stability, unity, conservatism, morality, supremacy, and sacredness. In fact, the color blue has special meanings for people all over the world in varied cultures.

For example, in ancient China, where there was no “word” for the color blue, there was no difference between the color blue and the color green. These were considered one color, or rather, one color with two parts and they both represented “life.” In Egypt, blue is good luck and the sacred “good luck” baboon, called Baba, (associated with Thoth, the magician god of the pyramids and underworld) is often depicted as blue. In India, Lord Vishnu as Krishna, (also called “the dark One” in eastern religions) is said to have blue blood, and to show his supremacy as a god and aristocracy, he is pictured with blue skin. In ancient Spain or France, for a person to have “blue blood” meant that they were of noble or royal lineage. In the United States, “blue laws,” (instituted by “bluenoses”) were enacted to ensure the maintenance of the high standards of God’s moral law among men. If someone were to tell you that you are "true blue," that would be a compliment. They are telling you that you are royal, moral, highly spiritual and faithful.

Here is a spiritual thought for the reader.

People like to be thought of as “blue,” I mean they often strive to do things well and be be on their best behavior, but unfortunately we is like the bluebird, not “true blue” at all. Brown and drab in true cellular structure, we, like the bluebird who can only ever be blue when in the sun’s radiant light, can only be truly "blue" when we are in the radiant light of God.

John 3:19-21
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

1 Corinthians, 4:4-7
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Judy Garland

Judy Garland, (1922-1969) named Frances Ethel Gumm at birth, was a movie star as a child, and she was known for her starring role in the Wizard of Oz which she did when she was seventeen years old. She was always asked to sing the song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow whenever she made a public appearance.

America loved it then, and they love it now, in fact, in 2001, the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts rated the song Number 1, in the Song of the Century Project. Throughout her whole life, Judy Garland, who's now deceased, was a huge superstar in the mind of the American public. She was even ranked Number 6 in the list of the Greatest Female Movie Stars of all time by the American Film Institute.

People loved the song and they loved Judy Garland too. Unfortunately, off camera and off of Broadway, she led a rather unstable life. Not only was she married five times, but her life, as a “movie star” was often in turmoil. She was wealthy, made a lot of money making movies, she was famous, had personality and was lovely to behold. She could have everything she would ever want or need. Unfortunately, like so many other human made, bright and shining “stars,” like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi, Margaux Hemmingway, Jimi Hendrix, River Phoenix, and Kurt Cobain, her life ended tragically due to drug abuse.

Drugs abuse may look, even feel like harmless fun. For some people, it a way to be different from the expected norm, a way to be “cool,” nonchalant about life or even brave. Some people get involved in the drug scene to make friends, make extra cash by selling or just to boldly have some outlandish extravagant psychedelic experience. Drugs, however are not harmless and real addiction that sucks the life out of you, is never "fun."

For the user, drug use, even done legally by prescription, appears as an easy way to make it from point A to B with less distress in a hectic day, a way to get away from physical or psychological pain. Drug abuse and over, even when it is legally distributed does come with side effects, and the hope or maybe excitement they offer is totally temporary,. Drugs are alluringly deceptive, so much so that use easily leads to abuse and abuse, as we have seen in the many deaths through the years, often ends in overdose.

Swept away from reality and into another world, a land somewhere over a rainbow state of mind, life with drugs is never really is what it seems to be. It's like being in the calm eye within a storm, you know, a place where the user feels comfortable, but in reality they have absolutely no idea about the velocity of the pending disaster swirling around them; everything from their perspective seems just fine. They believe they are in control and can better weather their life from this new, calm perspective, not even realizing that they are deeply embedded in a dangerous place, maybe even somewhere on the darker, wilder side of life. Before they know it, a whirlwind hits and in an instant their life is whisked away.

Some make it back home after a storm, but most do not. Those that do, wake up in a shattered world and the wreckage left behind is often very great. The person they, in the mirror is often one they barely recognize. The magic and wonder of life seems to be gone and they are damaged and broken, often feeling alone and in despair Without hope they often find themselves seeking solace from drugs to escape the harshness of reality once again.

People need hop. This is why they need Jesus. He is hope and he is more powerful than any drug. He calms the raging sea, heck, He even walks on water.

Judy Garland touched the heart of millions with her beautiful voice, her charm and her radiant beauty, but even she was caught up in a terrible raging storm. Overcome by clouds of darkness and despair, she was trapped in pain and anguish and then became hooked on drugs. Her adoring audience, onlookers to her very tragic end were filled with grief when they heard that such a lovely lady as she had come to such a tragic end.

One can only hope, that through it all, she somehow believed the rainbow of God's promise.

If Ever, If Ever a Wiz There Was...

The Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, is a fantastic fantasy. It was originally penned by Frank L. Baum who is said to have gotten the name of the Land of Oz from a filing cabinet sign with the designation of “O through Z.” He put them together and came up with OZ. The Wizard of Oz is a classic tale, about a little girl named Dorothy and her little dog Toto who are transported via a tornadoto the magically beautiful, color-filled rainbow land of Oz, that is located somewhere in the middle of the “Continent of Imagination.”

In this adventure, Dorothy discovers that the Land of Oz is ruled and thereby maintained by a wizard who is said to be extremely wise and wonderful and who lives in a place called Emerald City. This wizard is so wonderful in fact, that all the little dwarfy munchkin people of Munchkin Land greatly respect him and call him “the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz,” and look to him for help, leadership and guidance. They tell Dorothy that in order to get back to where she came from she will have to travel to the Emerald City herself and seek his help.

Dorothy sets out on a long journey down the yellow brick road to see the wonderful Wiz, and along the way she makes new friends and has many trials, particularly with the Wicked Witch of the West. Finally, reaching Emerald City, she audience with the Wizard and humbly approaches him to ask for his help in returning home to Kansas. To her surprise, and dismay, he is scary and mean. He demands that she and her traveling companions kill the Wicked Witch of the West before he will grant them assistance.

The movie varies slightly from the original book by Baum, but in both instances, Dorothy is responsible for dousing the witchy woman with water and she melts away breaking all her magic on her captives.

The friends then return to the Wizard for his promise of their reward and this is when the tables turn, and Dorothy learns that the Wizard of Oz who she has put her hope and faith in, and been obedient to, is really no wizard at all. He is a fake, just a man, not great and powerful, not even a wizard. She discovers that he has no power to help her at all.

Now the “Great” and “Terrible Oz,” as he called himself, feels guilty and has an apparent change of heart about Dorothy’s dilemma. He determines to help Dorothy and her friends with their requests the best he can, even making plans to sail Dorothy home in an enormous hot air balloon. But before he does, he meticulously presents gifts to the travelers. He gives gifts to each of them, though each gift is really no gift at all because as he presents each gift, he announces that they are really unnecessary because each already had the very things they sought from the Wizard inside themselves the whole time.

After the presentations the Wizard prepares to take Dorothy home but at the last minute Toto runs away. Dorothy jumps out of the balloon basket and chases the dog, but with the balloon already untethered, the bumbling wizard haphazardly sails off into the sky alone, leaving Dorothy stranded in OZ, apparently unable to return home to Kansas after all.

But never fear….for from the air the Wizard informs Dorothy that she had the power to go home to Kansas anytime that she wanted to the whole time that she was in OZ, she just didn’t realize it.

(Oh, if only she had known!)

All she had to do was click the heels of her ruby red slippers, (the ones that originally belonged to the wicked witch of the East, sister to the Wicked West,) three times… and say the magic words, “There’s no place like home.” Dorothy says the magic words and clicks the heels of her ruby slippers and magically returns home to Kansas.


Upon arrival in Kansas, as if waking from a dream, Dorothy sits up in bed with her friends and family by her side, who act as if she had been in some altered state or coma. Little do they know, they were all a part of her OZ adventure, but thankfully, she is now back in Kansas, and has learned her lessons well.

What did Dorothy learn? She learned that there were good witches and bad witches. She learned that all she had to do was to follow the yellow brick road and it would take her to where she wanted to go and she would make many good and loving friends along the way. She learned that the Wizard in Emerald City, was nothing but a fake and that everyone who thought He was real and wonderful was deceived. She and her companions also learned that there was no need to for anyone to look anywhere besides inside of themselves if they lacked brains or heart or even courage. Most of all she learned that, “There’s no place like home, ”even if it’s boring black and white wheat farm world where there were tornadoes and evil people who want to kill your dog,

Kansas was much different than Oz, which was bursting with color, adventure and above all, imagination. She was done chasing rainbows. She was home where she belonged.

Thoughts on the Wizard of OZ

There has always been speculation and debate about what political, social and religious implications Baum had in mind when he published the original Wizard of Oz story in 1900. Many people would declare, including Baum, that there are none at all. In fact, i read that to Baum the whole story was just an interesting idea he dreamed up one day; an idea that he simply pulled out from thin air that existed someplace between O and Z in a filing cabinet. He says it was a story he made up in his own mind, his imagination, to delight his own children, but despite the denial, some have thought the story to be filled with social and political implications.

For me, I thought it interesting that there is a seeming correlation between the description of the Wizard of Oz who lives in Emerald City and the throne of God as described in the Bible in the last book, called Revelation, chapter 4, verse 3. In this verse is a description of the throne room of God. It reads, “There was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”

Consider Dorothy's discovery... that the Wizard the whole land of Oz believed in, was a fraud. What exactly is the significance of a children's story where such a discovery is made, particularly if you related the concepts to the Christian religion?

It is Christians who believe not only in the Bible, and it's revelation, but who consider God to be awesome, wonderful, and powerful. Not only that, until the death of Christ, he remained somewhat unapproachable, even behind a curtain in the temple. It is also this God who is said to have given mankind the rainbow as a sign of His promise, and we read, whose throne in heaven is “in sight like unto an Emerald.”

Do you think pehaps, the religions statement Baum makes in his imaginative tale, is that God, like the great and terrible, Wizard of Oz, is nothing but a fraud? The rainbow?.. Well, Maybe the message is that people should really just get over it, realize Kansas and friends are all there really is, at least unless you are in pure imagination... and the bottom line of course, is that you need nothing from the silly old bumbling Wizard, after all, all you have to do is believe in yourself and realize that whatever it is you lack, you have within yourselves all along.

There are messages we latch onto as we engage in life. I happen to think movies, in particular are a powerful medium for messaging ideas, after all it's a direct link to the mind. Not only that, they say, " seeing is believing," but is it? I have to wonder, "How do the messages of movies, in particular, affect our human minds.. affect our imagination.... as well as the reality we perceive ourselves to be in.

"If ever, if Ever a Wiz there was.... the Wizard of Oz...."