Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me.” Kermit the frog loves Miss Piggy. Think about it, folks. Jim Henson and his Muppets shattered stereotypical bigotry. Each Muppet represents one of his friends from college, and while I cannot say which friend is which character, Henson felt no need to cast his friends in monochromatic characters. Henson went out on a limb to demonstrate the diversity that existed in his sphere of “friendhood.” Each character epitomizes some character trait and is used to teach children how to better evolve into caring, compassionate, and intelligent young people. Any child (and adult) could watch “The Muppet Show” or “Sesame Street” and feel included in the storyline and lesson plan. No one was excluded (including Big Bird’s imaginary friend, Snuffy).
This menagerie is the “Rainbow Connection”: the love and respect that beings of all shapes, species, colors, genders, and sizes hold sacredly for each other. The late Harry Chapin taught us, “There are so many colors in the rainbow, so many colors in the morning sun, so many colors in the flower, and I see everyone.” Even depicting the still life of a flower provides an opportunity to bring the diverse blessings of the world into concert. Of course, the LGBTQ community sees the rainbow as its statement of inclusion. Everyone matters.
So, God created a rainbow for Noah as a sign promising never to flood the earth again. Knowing that the rainbow consists of diverse colors and shades across the spectrum, I cannot help but think that God is somehow recanting having condemned humanity. We really are all in this together.
Muppeteer and close Henson friend Richard Hunt spoke at Henson’s funeral. He said, “It’s important that we all stop giving ourselves such a hard time. We’ve got to remind ourselves, and push ourselves, to let go — there’s not much we can do except to be, and in being, become aware. And that’s why Jim’s last words are most important: ‘Please watch out for each other,’ he says. ‘Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart.’”
This week, we repopulate the earth, with God’s commitment that everyone and everything, every color on the spectrum, matters. God is rethinking the rules of creation. Our current level of traumatic discourse has to be rethought, as well. Apropos, I want to share the lyrics of one of my favorite Muppet songs, “Just One Person”:
“If just one person believes in you, deep enough, and strong enough believes in you … Hard enough, and long enough…. It stands to reason, you yourself will start to see, what everybody sees in you … And maybe even you (maybe even you) can believe in you, too.”
Rabbi Marc Kline has served at Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls since 2014. With a passion for social justice, community engagement, and interfaith bridge building, he serves the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey as chair of interfaith relationships.