And God said to Noah Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth (Gen 9:11). God’s promise notwithstanding, this last weekend it rained, heavily.
Standing under an awning at the Crowfield Flower Festival on Saturday it was as if the churchyard was being drenched with fire-hoses. As the deluge slowed, we set out for home. Skin is waterproof. Sunday afternoon appeared worse, yet, by Monday the sun had returned and wayside puddles were the only clear sign of the recent deluge. How quickly things change, and how quickly the land swallowed the water.
Variety is the essence of the British weather; as is rain. The further west we go the greener it gets, for good reason. Even here in the driest part of the country we expect rain and take it for granted that when we turn on the tap, out will flow a good supply of clean fresh water. Our weather remains unpredictable yet, if we pay attention, we can be well prepared for most eventualities. Sailors and airmen, farmers and ramblers; anyone who depends on the weather for a safe and prosperous passage, learns to read the signs; learns also the importance of the right equipment. Stout boots and a waterproof coat made all the difference when walking home through the weekend’s storm.
When God sent the great flood it is clear that only Noah had any inkling of what was about to happen. God didn’t tell anyone else. By contrast, Jesus tells us that the signs of God’s purpose and presence are there to be read, if only we pay attention. Show us a sign from heaven, he was asked. In other words, prove you are from God. In reply he said You can read the weather, but not the sign of the times – No sign will be given except the sign of Jonah (Matt: 16: 1-4). Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of the fish, before returning to dry land. Jesus spent 3 days in the belly of the hill, before he too returned to life. Each morning we check the weather for a sign of what the day may have in store; warm and dry, or will the heavens open? How carefully do we read the sign of the King of heaven? When Heaven opens, will we be ready to welcome his reign?
Rev’d Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 3 Sep 23 can be found here