It's nearly a dumb question, because nearly no one hasn't seen the signature rainbow flag - in college dorm windows, on bumper stickers, on television news reports, etc. I've seen plenty of them, and noticed another on a bumper sticker this morning as I was walking up Liberty Street. I've always gotten the message the movement is trying to send with their colorful stripes - "We like diversity and we accept everyone and it's a big happy party".
But this morning, for some reason, the flag on that bumper sticker sent me a different message.
It's a rainbow.
The rainbow is a sign of God's covenant mercy and patience with man's perversity:
"... the LORD said in his heart, “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. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:21-22 ESV)
When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh." (Genesis 9:14-15 ESV)
Isn't it amazing? That a movement seeking to promote a lifestyle that goes against what God created them to be, a movement marching proudly into the last frontiers of man's heart that "is evil from his youth", should do so under the banner of God's patiently withheld judgment?
This morning the gay pride bumper sticker with its bright rainbow colors said to me, "God is patient with you - sinners, both homosexual and 'straight'- not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance." It said, "We are a nation under judgment - but oh, of what a patient and merciful God". Incredible that rebels against a good King should march under the sign of His longsuffering. But we cannot wave the sign of God's promised mercy in His face as we disobey Him forever. The Lord is not a God to be mocked, but to be glorified for both his patience and his justice.
"For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
(2 Peter 3:5-13 ESV)
Someday, people who marched under the rainbow flag will stand with others who abhorred that striped banner - both worshiping before the rainbow-encircled throne, glorifying God for His mercy, for they have all been washed and sanctified and justified by the blood of the Son of God. But that will only happen if God's mercy leads them to repentance here. Think of it next time you see a rainbow flag.