Rainbow Scarves for Everyone
Start reminiscing with anyone who attended the PCUSA 218th General Assembly in San Jose, CA and the rainbow scarves worn by so many there will undoubtedly come up. Attractive, colorful and practical for the air conditioned chill of a convention center meeting room, they spread by word of mouth: someone without one asked someone with one, a conversation began, a connection was made and the scarf changed hands or the person was directed to the More Light Presbyterians/Covenant Network corner in the mission fair to get one for themselves.
Rich in Christian and Biblical meaning, the scarves reach back to the first covenant made by God in Genesis 9, when God creates the rainbow as a symbol of the promise to Noah never to destroy the earth by water again. This ancient covenant is just like the one God makes with us through Jesus in that there is no requirement of any sort on the part of Noah or us, his descendents. The rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant of grace with all of us, no strings attached, simply given by God, like Jesus.
No wonder it has been taken up in our time by those who feel left out of God’s grace. In the 1980’s there was the Rainbow Coalition led by Jesse Jackson that united the poor and many different ethnic groups under the rainbow banner. And the rainbow flag has also become a symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community where amazing unity is forged out of immense diversity.
Now, in the PCUSA, the rainbow scarves have emerged as a gift from those within the church who yearn for the day when the PCUSA embraces all God’s beloved. As Jesus said, “When I am lifted up, I shall draw all people to myself (John 12:35),” and there is no “but” in all. The knitters and the wearers join in this conviction.
Above all, the rainbow scarves are meant to prompt conversation. The scarves are meant to achieve what the General Assemblies since 1978, the Peace, Unity and Purity Taskforce and now the Special Committee on Marriage have all called the PCUSA to do: to talk with one another as Christians, as beloved children of God, because prayerful conversation is where we come to know God and neighbor. The rainbow scarves wonderfully fulfilled that yearning for dialogue in San Jose and promise to do so again in the Twin Cities in July.
Rainbow scarves are lovely gifts handcrafted by a stranger (unless you pin your name to them as some do) who wants the church to shine forth Jesus’ covenant of grace. Good Presbyterians who want to engage in a conversation wear them. When you see one at the assembly in July, step up, introduce yourself and begin the conversation.
And for those who wish to give the gift of grace and dialogue at the GA this summer, there is still time to join in the knitting and prayer. Remember, being Presbyterian is not a requirement! Here are the details.
I learned to knit for this and will knit away until the deadline in June! Join me!