On Rainbows and Paintbrushes

Our Vacation Bible School is just around the corner–next Monday through Friday in fact–and we’re excited about another wonderful opportunity to share the love of Christ with the children of our church and our community. As you may know, for the last several years we have developed our own original and unique VBS materials for Bible teaching, worship, missions, crafts, recreation and even snacks, all following a theme that helps keep the kids’ attention so we can communicate the gospel effectively. We are blessed to have some very gifted and creative people in our church body who have put this together every year, and this year is no different. For this summer’s VBS, our team developed a theme around the idea of colors, like the gospel-in-colors bracelets we have made in the past. They borrowed from popular concepts like the Color Run and the Blue Man Group to come up with some very cool ideas for a fun week teaching Scripture to the children. The theme is “Painting the World with God’s Love.” This is where things have gotten interesting the past few weeks. More than a few people have seen our VBS logo, included on the posters and banners we’ve used to promote our VBS in neighborhoods around our area, and wondered if the multi-colored paintbrush on the logo didn’t resemble a rainbow. In case you have been hiding under a rock lately, the rainbow has become a symbol of the gay-rights movement, which has been magnified exponentially the past few weeks after the recent Supreme Court ruling on “same-sex marriage.” Now first of all, let me say–in case you had any doubts–this was not done intentionally, to somehow identify us with any group. I will reiterate that there is no rainbow on the logo, it is a paintbrush. All this was planned several months ago, prior to any court decision, and before the White House was lit up in rainbow colors. It was simply a desire to use bright colors as a tool to point children to Jesus. But secondly, it is a sad indictment on all of us that we are now paranoid that we may somehow be identified with a group of sinners, if we are caught using the wrong sign or symbol. We have become so paralyzed by political correctness so that we are afraid of any misinterpretation of whatever symbol we may employ, whether purposely or inadvertently. Heaven forbid someone think that we are trying to spread the love of God to those people. We must not forget that it was God who “invented” the rainbow to begin with–and He used it as a sign and symbol of His promise of grace. The first rainbow was recorded in Genesis 9, after the worldwide flood. Because of the wickedness of man, God brought a flood of judgment, but delivered those who would trust in Him. After the floodwaters subsided and Noah and his family departed the ark, they built an altar to the Lord and sacrificed upon it. It was then that God made a covenant with Noah, saying, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done…” (Gen. 8:21) The sign of that covenant was the rainbow. God told Noah, “I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Gen. 9:13) We must not allow any group to co-opt God’s sign. It is a promise of His grace and unconditional love for His people, all of which happen to be sinners. And it is that love that we will proclaim and teach in our Vacation Bible School. We will not run from any hints of rainbow colors. Instead, we will continue to strive to “paint the world” with his love, whoever the recipients will be. May we be faithful to the Lord and His word in our VBS, and may lives be changed through this ministry. I am praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday. –Pastor Ken