Before the waters of the great flood receded, while Noah was still on the ark, God met in heaven with eight of His most artistic angels. God opened the meeting by proclaiming in a voice that sounded deep like thunder, majestic like rushing waters, and beautiful like a trumpet: “In just a short time, my servant Noah will leave the ark I have commanded him to build and I will command him to repopulate the earth. At that time, I will set my bow in the heavens as a sign that I will never again flood the earth. I want the eight of you Angels to begin working on the design of the bow so that it will be a powerful reminder of my presence.”
With that, God vanished and the newly formed bow committee set to work. They were all in agreement that the bow should be large enough to be seen from miles away and that it should be made of pure light (angels are quite fond of pure light). The only real sticking point was the color.
The first angel argued that the bow ought to be red, saying, “Red would remind humanity of God’s fierce anger and of the blood sacrifice that must be made to atone for sin. They must be reminded that God is a consuming fire, holy and without equal… a fierce warrior on the side of His people!”
The second angel argued for a different color saying, “Is not our Lord rare and sweet like an exotic fruit? Perhaps the color orange would remind humanity that God is the true source of pleasure and joy in life, and the only thing worth seeking. What better message could there be than an orange bow in the sky?”
The third angel argued for yellow, reminding his fellows that “God is a friend to humanity who radiates love like the sun radiates light. Surely the color of the sun would remind the people that God is faithful and steadfast- as dependable as that great light that governed the day!”
The fourth angel argued for the color green, saying, “Is our Master not also the creator? The God of all creation? Surely a green bow would remind humanity that our God created the earth and continues to be the source of all life!”
“Yes,” said the fifth angel, “But it is also important to emphasize God’s compassion! Does He not grieve with humanity? The color blue would remind people that God is present in their suffering… that He hears the cry of the afflicted, and draws near to the broken hearted.”
The sixth angel argued for indigo, that mysterious color halfway between blue and violet, pointing out that, “God, too, is mysterious and elusive- His ways are not fathomable to humanity. An indigo bow would inspire humanity to contemplate the deep spiritual truths of God.”
The seventh angel cried out, “You fools, you’ve forgotten the most important thing about God: that He is King. Violet would remind humanity of God’s royal rule over them and His sovereignty over all creation, for heaven is His throne and the Earth is His footstool.”
All while this debate was going on, the eighth angel sat quietly, not contributing to the conversation. Finally, the angels looked to him to break the tie. “You have been quiet,” said one of the angels, “Which among us do you feel has the better argument?”
The angel was silent for a moment more and then spoke with great sureness and wisdom: “It seems to me that God is all of the things you describe and much more… Would not a bow made of all these colors show humanity that their God must be truly great to be seen in so many beautiful ways?”
It was then that the argument was ended and the final design for the rainbow was agreed upon.
This is a midrash of my own creation. Often, like these angels, we stubbornly cling to our vision of God as the only right way of seeing… We become upset when people try to paint God a different color by emphasizing a quality we see as peripheral to God’s nature. Many times our vision of God says far more about us than it says about God. If God is God, then He is beyond any one person’s comprehension. He must indeed be truly great to be seen in so many beautiful ways.
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…