Monday, 11 December 2017

We can't change the weather but we can change the world

I’M sure you’ve probably heard the joke about the two elderly men leaning over a gate and admiring the one gentleman’s garden.

It was quite beautiful with splashes of vibrant colour among the flower beds and neatly and evenly planted vegetable rows.

One of the friends says to the other, whose garden it is: “Isn’t God in creation wonderful?!”

The gardener replies: “I’m not too sure about that. You should have seen the mess He left it in when He had it to Himself and before I took it over.”

It’s very easy to be caught up in the wonders of Creation. Just this week we have seen some spectacular photographs in the media resulting from the red-orange sky that covered most of us in the South and South-East.

But at the same time we are reminded of the seeming cruelty and indiscriminate nature of the world.

Hurricanes and earthquakes have been in the news for months now, with the resultant misery, death and destruction they bring.

And certainly the fabulous sunsets were the result of high winds blowing dust and sand and fire ash from Spain, where the forest fires have wrought a terrible toll, as they usually do.

“Nature red in tooth and claw” seems to sum up how we are being treated at the moment.

The argument about mankind’s responsibility for some of the changes we are seeing in weather patterns and weather behaviour still rage, especially now that the President of the United States has taken such a firm position in the argument. Are we really all responsible for the “fire and tempest”, which seems to be apocalyptically ravaging our delicate world?

Whatever the real answer, no one can turn away from the fact that actions have consequences.

We cannot rage against nature when we build towns and cities in the lee of active volcanoes or on flood plains and then eventually suffer the result.

Similarly a lack of action has consequences too. Impoverishment, hunger and the plight of refugees can all be traced back to unfairness or bigotry or a lack of compassion — action or no action.

St John said that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son.”

That was God’s action. The consequence of that action is “that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life”.

None of us has the power, the wisdom or the authority to give such hope to all of mankind.

But each of us, by the way and to the extent that we give ourselves, can bring hope to those who are without hope, food to those who are hungry, and compassion to those who see nothing but cruelty and fear in their lives.

We may not be able to control the weather but we can change the world!

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