The other day I was out for groceries. When I parked, not particularly near the store, it was overcast but fairly nice out. When I was finished and ready to go out to the car it was pouring rain! I looked in my cart and noticed boxed goods near the tops of the bags. I considered for a moment whether I could wait it out in the store. I did actually have a raincoat on, so I put up my hood, zipped up my purse, and headed out into the rain. Having set my course I kept my head down to keep my hood from blowing off and made a quick bee-line for my car. My coat had done a lovely job of keeping my hair and upper body completely dry but was, of course, now dripping with water as I climbed into the car.
Driving home I noticed how other people were reacting to the rain. There were some people making a quick dash, heads and shoulders bowed down. There were many like me with raincoats or umbrellas, not in quite the same hurry as the dashers but mostly hunched against the rain regardless of their protection. I also noticed some of the people who clearly had to go someplace and had only their feet for transportation. Resigned to their fates, they just walked along getting wet as if nothing at all was happening. Most wearing tshirts or sweaters of one kind or another, they didn’t even hunch their shoulders. They were already wet, they had farther to go, why fight it?
None of these people were dancing or singing in the rain! The ultimate statement of contentment or happiness, it seems, would be finding even a rainy day sunny (emotionally). We have had a fair number of rainy days in our area lately. A friend of mine this morning had, “Rain, rain go away. Only come back between midnight and six, then stay sunny all day.” as her facebook status. I smiled as I read it, echoing the sentiment in my mind.
If you don’t feel like singing and dancing on your next rainy day, take a cue from the little kids in this old McDonald’s commercial…
One of my favourite literary terms we learned in high school is pathetic fallacy. I see examples everywhere; in books, on tv shows, and sometimes in real life. Today as I headed out to the doctor’s office it was raining. I was somehow not surprised though, it seems like it has been raining every time I came here for ages!
I don’t think this counts as pathetic fallacy, since I rather like seeing my doctor. Now if we were talking dentist appointment that might be different! Here are a couple of examples from my lifetime
Remember all those Remembrance Days where we went to the cenotaph in the cold, driving wind and rain or snow? It made trench life more real to me as my fingers froze to the metal keys on my clarinet. How dare I complain about that hour or two in comparison to months on end?
The Christmas Eves when the first sparkly flakes of snow started just as we stepped out of the Christmas Eve service bespeaking the miracle of Jesus birth.
The Sunday’s when the clouds cleared just as the message of hope came out and the sun threw its light into our midst just as the Spirit was lighting our spirits.
Bright sunny days when happy couples share their weddings with families and friends. To be fair, I think a lot of that is humanly contrived as the majority of people schedule their weddings at times and in places with the maximum chance of good weather.
In historical or Biblical society, what weather would you expect to go with the shame of an unwed teen mother traveling across country? What time of day would you set a birth? What weather goes with the hope we are seeking during the first week of Advent?
11 Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!
Psalm 97 was the morning lectionary Psalm today. When I read it, the part that struck me was that part I quoted above. It seemed particularly appropriate in light of the many dreary and rainy days we have had lately and the forecast for the sun to come out today. Of course, I don’t think the Psalm was referring literally to sun shining. After-all, everyone who lives in my area has had the same lack of sunshine and we all saw the sun today. It didn’t matter whether we were righteous or upright of heart or not, the sun really shone on all of us.
So what is that about? The light that dawns for the upright (please note not the perfect, the sin free) is the light of the Holy Spirit which shines out from within us. It is the light that brightens your step, that carries us over the stumbling blocks, that helps us to break through the clouds that enfold us. As I began to write this evening I found myself humming the lyrics of Hank Williams’ song based on Psalm 46 so I share the lyrics with you here.
I Saw The Light
I wandered so aimless, life filled with sin;
I wouldn’t ask my dear Saviour in.
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night;
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!
Words and music by Hank Williams
I saw the light, I saw the light.
No more darkness; no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight.
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!
Just like a blind man I wandered alone,
Worries and fears I claimed for my own.
Then like the blind man that Jesus gave back his sight;
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!
I was a fool to wander astray,
For straight is the gate and narrow is the way.
Now I have traded the wrong for the right;
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!
Posted in Music, Reflections
Tagged Bible, Christianity, dreary weather, faith, God, help, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Psalm 46, psalm 97, rain, reflection, song, sunshine
Ditches are constructed to drain water from the land, especially during or immediately after times of heavy rain or melting snow. Ditches are the things into which drivers sometimes drive or swerve and then need to be towed out of them.
We don’t generally think much about the ditches alongside our roads. We certainly don’t want to end up in them with our cars. They tend to be somewhat filled up with trash which once it has blown down into them remains stuck there and gets water-logged. When we have roadside clean-ups the main focus is clearing this refuse away. For one thing it is unsightly, but it is also a danger to the functioning of the ditch as it may block the passage of water causing back-ups in the system.
If I sent you off to find examples of spring-time beauty, I doubt you would head straight for the ditch along your road. But just as there are awesome and beautiful things happening in a world full of sin, hate, and war, there is beauty in our ditches. In our neighbourhood it is one of the first areas to have really green grass which is a spirit lifting sight after months of snow. No matter how much garbage may be thrown into your life, seek out the beauty and revel in it!
photos were taken in the drainage ditches in my subdivision on April 29, 2011
Posted in Reflections
Tagged beauty, Christianity, drainage ditch, green grass, hate, neighbourhood, problems, promise, rain, reflection, sin, snow, sping, spring-time beauty, tow truck, trash
It has been raining here in New Brunswick for a couple of days. I am not normally one to enjoy rain, but at this time of year when you can watch it melting away the snow on the yard and the ice in the driveway I love it! The worst that happens when it rains, for where I live, is that we might get a little water in my basement. This is not the case for my friends who live near the St. John river. When their basements flood it is right up the stairs, their driveways wash out etc.
None of this holds a candle to the destruction that floods have caused in India, Australia, and many other countries in the past months and years. But even the footage of the cars being swept out of the parking lot and down the stream from Australia is nothing compared to the power of the earthquakes and tsunami waters in Japan this week.
My Lenten reading yesterday was about Noah’s Ark. In the story introduction it was covering the behaviour of mankind and God’s reaction to that behaviour. It actually amazed me that I never noticed this section of scriptures in the times I have read through Genesis. There were references to sons of gods making babies with daughters of humans, Nephlim and all sorts of strange stuff. I actually felt a bit like I was reading something from Greek mythology. I am still curious about this and will continue to puzzle my way through to some kind of understanding of the passage. The key point though is simple, things were bad and God was fed up!
Driving along in the car my daughter and I got talking about this passage and how strange it sounded. She agreed with the mythology sound and mentioned the fact that most of the world’s religions include a story of a great flood. We agreed that it makes sense that there really was a flood of somewhat immense proportions and that each group relayed the story through their own perspective.
It is hard to read about God being so angry that he actually regretted having ever created us and wanted to wipe us out. So much of our comfort comes from God resting at the end of the day and saying, “It is good!” He was happy with us, he sent his son to save us because he loves us, and yet here he is very early in our story regretting our very creation.
We agreed that things must have been pretty desperate. My daughter asked if it was better or worse now and whether I ever wonder if God regrets having promised never to flood the world again. If you were in Japan right now you might be justified in wondering if God has found some sort of loophole in that covenant he made so long ago with Noah.
There isn’t really any way to compare the level of human depravity now to that of the time of the flood. If it hadn’t been for Noah being a righteous man, we wouldn’t be here at all. Look what has come from one righteous man and his family. We should take some comfort in that. At a time with attendance in the main-line churches is on the decline we need to remember that sometimes just one righteous man or woman standing up for what is right can result in stunning change!
As for the victims of the earthquake and flooding in Japan right now, and for those continuing to struggle with the results from earlier disasters, we need to remember them in our prayers, give as we are able whether that be in funds or service.
If your church is not taking donations to help the victims of disasters, you have no church, or you don’t know the best way for your money to make a difference on the ground I would recommend Presbyterian World Service and Development. Find their relief link at presbyterian.ca
Posted in Bible Study, Reflections
Tagged Australia, Bible, Christianity, flood, forgiveness, Genesis, God, India, Japan, loop holes, Noah's Ark, problems, promise, rain, reflection, regret, snow