|Posted on 5 July, 2018 at 5:10|
I wonder what year comes to your mind when you think of that summer. Is it 1966 when England last won the World Cup. Perhaps it is 1976 and the drought after a prolonged period of heat without rain.
As I write the England Football Team have just got through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup after a penalty shoot-out – the first time England have ever won on penalties in the World Cup and we have just experienced yet another warm sunny day with perfect clear skies. I can’t remember a summer like this in England for a good few years! The grass in the garden has turned an interesting shade – one more normally associated with warmer climes. The big skies on Lincolnshire are transfused with a light more normally seen in places like France or northern Italy. The town feels like a different place in this warm summer sun than when it is cold and damp and overcast.
For some their memorable summer has a darker aspect. We have seen this year the moorland fires in the Peak District and Yorkshire and in our own community the joy of summer has coincided with several in our congregation who are seriously ill. I am reminded constantly of both the beauty and fragility of the world in which we live and what makes a particular year memorable can relate to either the beauty or the fragility. In one of the more philosophical passages in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that the Father in Heaven makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. This is one of those passages that, I believe, we should reflect on frequently. It is a passage that can act as a corrective lens through which we view the world. It is so easy to blame God or look on something as a punishment from God. This passage serves as a corrective to that sort of view. It encourages us to take a step back and look at the goodness of God on a broader canvas – the sun (rising and setting), the rain (watering the earth, producing crops), the turning of the seasons.
Yet as we look at the beauty of the world we see pain and suffering too. But this powerful creator God is also embodied in the vulnerable person of Jesus who suffered and was crucified for us. Beauty and fragility so often go together because together they point us to the God of love.