From Richard, the Team Rector
Summer is a time for holidays, which are the successor of holy days, which were saints’ days or other Christian festivals during the medieval period when the whole community stopped work for a celebration and a rest. This could get out of hand; in 1624 James Howell claimed that some parts of Spain celebrated over five months’ worth of saints’ days!
British Summers are typically warm and wet, although long periods of dry weather can occur. These usually leads to a panic about water shortages; but just when we think all is lost, the clouds roll up like the Seventh Cavalry at the end of a Western, and the deluges begin again. In the drought summer of 1976 Dennis Howell famously was appointed minister for the drought, but shortly afterwards became the minister in charge of dealing with the autumn floods!
The right amount of rain has always been vital in areas where the economy is primarily rural as without the right amount of rain, crops will either die from thirst, rot in damp conditions or be overwhelmed by flooding. Not enough rain this year, and flooding in 2015, have meant that we have a famine in parts of East Africa at present.
In the Bible rain is seen as a blessing from God for all people, part of what are known as the “left-handed blessings” given by God to everyone. God loves us all so very much that He has given us life on this earth to care for, use and enjoy. When things go wrong He will want us to be a community and help each other to overcome the challenges we face, locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. Those who seek to work for others He especially smiles upon.
The right-handed blessings of God are those reserved for those who have welcomed His son, Jesus. His spiritual blessings are given to those who are open-hearted towards Him, who pray, read the Bible, and put Him first in their lives. These blessings are often poured upon us by His Holy Spirit.
The measure of His blessing may be limited by our faith or lack of faith, our holiness or unholiness, but God has undertaken to give without limit to those who trust in Him.
As we give thanks to God for the blessings of summer, let us also ask Him to fill us with His Spirit every day so that we will be blessed in fullest measure by our generous, holy and loving God and Saviour.