First reading and reflection
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. Psalm 59.16-17 :
MAYA ANGELOU (1928-2014):
“A Bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer,
it sings because it has a song.”
The Old Psalm urges us to sing. To sing a song of praise. To sing a song of praise to our God as our mighty fortress and our refuge in times of trouble. We are encouraged to sing – to sing a praise of hope and faith to our God as we witness the splendor and the grandeur of creation: the Majestics mountains, the desolate deserts, the breathtaking beaches, the colorful canyons, the vital valleys, the vast views, and the starlit evening skies. We are encouraged to sing praise to the creator who created all and gave it to us as a gift and a task: to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” As the story of Creation tells us.
Tonight I added a quote from Maya Angelou to each of the readings. The first one you will find on a stamp: “A Bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Maya Angelou’s was an author, a poet, and actress and a champion of civil rights. Her book “ I know why the caged birds sings” became a bestseller and describe her tumultuous early life in the South and is a part of American history now. We are urged to sing, not because we have all the answers, not because we know all the tunes, not because we have all the solutions, - we sing because we have a song to be sung: we have a faith to be expressed, we have a hope to be heard and we have a love to be shown. That is our song to be sung.
Second Reading and Reflection
And God said, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9.13 & 16
MAYA ANGELOU (1928 – 2014): “Be a rainbow in the cloud.”
Maya Angelou passed away on May 28 2014. There is one sentiment that really has struck me and hits me right in my heart whenever I listen to Maya Angelou’s distinctive voice and her wise word. In an appearance in 2011 on Oprah’s Masterclass Maya Angelou urged us to be a rainbow in the clouds. To be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.
During that interview, Maya Angelou explained where she first heard the “rainbow in the clouds” metaphor, which comes from a 19th-century African-American song popularly known as “God Put A Rainbow in the Clouds.” And then she sang the powerful lyric that resonated so strongly with her and her entire life and being: “When it looks like the sun wasn’t going to shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds.”
“Imagine!” Maya Angelou marveled. “I’ve had so many rainbows in my clouds. I had a lot of clouds, but I had so many rainbows. I bring everyone who has ever been kind to me with me,” she said. “Black, white, Asian, Spanish-speaking, Native American, gay, straight, everybody. I said, ‘Come on with me. I’m going on the stage. Come with me. I need you now.’” Whether her “rainbows” were living or had long since passed, Maya Angelou said she always felt and drew strength from their support. “I don’t ever feel I have no help,” she said. “I had rainbows in my clouds.” And then the wise old lady encouraged people to apply the “rainbow in the clouds” philosophy to their own lives and “ be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” And she said: “The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God — if they call God at all,” she chuckled. “I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think.”