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Last week, an exciting summer of test match cricket ground to a soggy halt when rain washed out the end of an exciting game, and the Australians won the Ashes … again. The England cricket captain Ben Stokes expressed frustration. He had been watching the forecasts and trying to calculate whether (no pun intended) there would be enough time for England to win, but the rain was persistent throughout the final day.
Even if you don’t follow cricket, the weather has been on many people’s minds. After a hot dry June, it feels like it has hardly stopped raining since then. We love to discuss the weather in this country – partly because it is so unpredictable. It’s also a reminder that it’s something we can’t control. It reminds us that humanity is incredibly powerless, and in fact the only thing we’ve managed to do is make things worse with global warming.
The writer of Ecclesiastes reflects on this:
“When clouds are full, they empty rain on the earth; whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.” (11v3)
In the next verse he goes on to suggest that if you spend your time worrying about the weather, you’ll get nothing done!
“Whoever observes the wind will not sow; and whoever regards the clouds will not reap.”
Later, in Luke’s gospel, Jesus notes that sometimes it’s possible to have an accurate very short-range forecast. But we can still miss the more important signs:
“He also said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, “It is going to rain”; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat”; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?'” (Luke 12:54-56)
The ‘present time’ was that the Messiah had come but the people had not realised it. He told us that he will return a second time and warned us to be ready. Let’s take our minds off the clouds and prepare for the one who will ‘come on the clouds’.
Meanwhile, I’m going to look for my sun cream and pray …
Blessings in Christ,
Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations
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