October 2015

[Our October Article has been written by John Barrett]


Dear Friends

It has been hardly what one would call a great summer. When we wanted rain at the Oval it stayed dry - otherwise it rained and rained. Not as bad as 2012 but bad enough if you planned a special outing for Bank Holiday Monday. We had a three day trip to Bruges at the end of the month and we got soaked though every day especially on a rather sad trip on an open boat on the canals when our views of this beautiful city where completely obscured by our umbrellas!

It is said:
“England does not have a climate it has weather!”

I suppose this prompted Dr Johnson to write in his diary.

“When two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather!”

Considering those comments it made me think the Psalmists must have been Englishmen! Wherever you look in the Psalms there seems to be an illusion to the weather. It is almost their favourite image to describe the activity and care of God not merely for the natural world but in his care for Israel and her people.

Thus it seems obvious that the Psalms were written by poets with strong connections to the aspirations of an Englishman!

If you doubt it just flick through a few of the Psalms and see the weather/English influence at work.

The protection of God:
“The sun shall not smite you by day, not the moon by night”
Psalm 121.5

The loss of confidence in God:
“Day and night your hand was heavy upon me,
my strength was dried up as in a summer drought”
Psalm 32.4

His love abides for ever and ever:
“He shall endure like the sun and the moon from age to age”
Psalm 72.5

The power and authority of God:
“It was you who fixed the bounds of the earth:
You made both summer and winter”
Psalm 74.17

The judgement of God:
“He showers down snow, white as wool,
and sprinkles hoar-frost thick as ashes;
crystals of ice he scatters like breadcrumbs;
He sends the cold, and the water stands frozen,
He utters his word, and the ice melted;
He blows with his wind and the waters flow.”
Psalm 147.16-17

Our God is great and loving and cares for us:
“He summons clouds from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightening produce the rain;
from his treasuries he sends forth the wind.”
Psalm 135. 8

The faithful God who protects his own:
“He sent hail stones in place of rain
and flashing fire in their land”
Psalm 105.32

The English Psalmist uses the weather as a way to describe the character and care of God for his people! Well probably not so. I suppose it is the other way round.

We are so influenced by the Psalmist that we too use the weather to describe our emotions and hopes.

So Dr Johnson and the Psalmist share a common insight.

John Barrett