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Tag Archives: snow
If you live in an area which has snow storms during the winter, chances are you are familiar with the unexpected treat of a storm day. For the most part these are only a boon for school students and teachers as technically they are caused by it being unsafe to have the buses on the roads.
If this is all sounding familiar to you, then you may also be aware of some of the superstitions that go along with the forecast of a storm. When the radio first forecasts any amount of snow hopes begin to rise, and when they change to a snowfall, or winter storm warning the action begins. First, of course, it is important not to talk about it due to a risk of jinxing things. Then there are the night-time rituals like putting your pajamas on inside out, getting homework done, mittens under the pillow, and they go on.
Much as you may rationally understand that there will not be a storm day, when the alarm goes off the next morning and you don’t hear a cancellation notice, your heart falls. From that moment frowns and grumbles are the order of the day. The kids are extra cranky, especially if they didn’t finish their homework. They spend the whole day looking longingly out the window and asking if they are going to get sent home early.
In some ways this is like the Christian story. We have the forecast of the second coming of Jesus, of the New Earth. When it happens it will be completely undeserved, a total change from the everyday with nothing scheduled, no to-do list, and no struggles. We know it is coming, and yet when we get up each day it is in the same life, same hassles, the same old Earth. We don’t need to go through special rituals, wear things a particular way, this is already a done deal and all we have to do is continue to believe.
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
Raking in the front yard, shovelling in the back
Here I am! Stuck in the middle again…
It’s like summer and winter out there! Actually, in my yard that is how spring works. My front yard clears of snow fairly quickly while the back the yard is still covered with snow. After church today, I raked up doggie ‘left-overs’ in the front yard and then grabbed my shovel and went to get rid of the last of the snow on the back deck. Then, after a trudge through the snow, I dug out the door to the shed and brought up the deck chairs. This accomplished I took a rest in the bright sunshine, overlooking our winter back yard.
Life is full of contrasts like this. Today in church the minister spoke about the apostle Thomas. You know the one, the doubter right? Thomas is only part of a couple of stories in the New Testament and is, by far, best known for his refusal to believe in the risen Christ until seeing and touching the wounds himself. That was not, however, the story in today’s reading.
Today we read about the death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. Jesus was sent word about his friend’s impending death and when he decided, several days later, to go back to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus his disciples pointed out how dangerous this would be for him. People in that area were just waiting for a chance to kill him. While all the other disciples were urging caution, Thomas said they should go with him and die with him. Thomas was so far from doubting that he was willing to die for Jesus! That, the minister pointed out, should earn Thomas the name of Brave Thomas!
The chores I did today in the front and the back yards, though very different in nature, were both headed in the same direction which is getting the yard ready for summer. Likewise there are various chores, seemingly very different, which are needed to prepare for the coming of the kingdom of God. Thomas the Brave went on in his life to bring the Gospel to people as far from Israel as India and his life ended in martyrdom. He did, as he had offered that day when headed out to see Lazarus, literally die for Christ. This is one of the things that was needed for the furtherance of the Kingdom. There need to be people who love Christ so much that they are willing to die for him!
I can’t know my future situations and reaction, but I think I am unlikely to truly put my life on the line in the way Thomas did. In fact, this is not in any way likely to happen to those of us in North America, nor anywhere in the developed world. Luckily for us, we don’t need to die for Christ, we are also called to live for him. So get out your rakes, your shovels, and whatever other tools you are called to use and get to work preparing the yard for the kingdom.
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