From the Rectory – Yes I know that it is an obsession of the British, but the weather is fascinating!
There was quite a bit of coverage in the media of the recent conference on our weather organised by the Met Office. The pattern of weather for us has been unusually unpredictable and the conference was wanting to pool ideas as to why this might be the case. Is it that the jet stream has moved south of us? Is it that the ice cap has melted? Is it that the sun is getting warmer? Fantastically complicated pictures were shown of just how complex the weather patterns are (I would love one of those pictures as one of my screen savers!) and computer modelling can at present only get us so far in predicting how things will turn out. The conclusion of the conference seemed to be that we know surprisingly little and further study is needed! No comfort if you are organising a Summer Party, Garden Fete or Parish Lunch!
To help our knowledge you can now get a new App for your phone that enables you to photograph clouds and further our study of them by sending the photographs off, geo-tagged. There is an international Cloud Appreciation Society that boasts 32,194 members worldwide (just as we have a Mission of the Month so they have a Cloud of the Month!). One commentator referred to clouds as the ‘wild card’ in our weather system – complex, unpredictable and what their impact is remains uncertain – that is unless you are organising a Summer Party, Garden Fete or Parish Lunch!
And what about our gardens and allotments? The Open Gardens were again a wonderful Sunday afternoon out and the flowers in church for the weekend were quite outstanding. But if you’ve got flowers and vegetables growing you are put in a quandary as to what to do in such unpredictable weather and even more difficult is deciding what to do differently next year; because of course the weather pattern will be different again!
It seems that we look for a balance between consistency and unpredictability. Many of us enjoy the British weather (yes, honestly I do!) with the changing seasons and the variety of our weather patterns but we want these to be within the boundaries of a basic consistency to enable us to make decisions. When we cannot see that consistency we are prone to anxiety, concerned as to what exactly is going on and whether it is a threat to our ability to plan.
Consistency and unpredictability; we need a combination of the two but in varying degrees. Spiritually we appreciate the consistency of God who says: ‘For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it’. But there is something vibrant and attractive in God who also says: ‘The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit’.
I’m going to try and enjoy the weather this summer, whatever it brings!