The weather (26-07-2022)
So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8:18-22)
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121)
Talking about the weather has always been a safe topic of conversation as far as us Brits have been concerned. That’s because we live in a temperate climate; it is never too hot or too cold, we have winds but they are never too strong, we have rain but it is never torrential and we never suffer from drought for too long. We have had the occasional hose pipe ban but nothing to get ourselves too worried about. Or at least that was how it used to be. I am old enough to remember the summer of 1976, I remember it being unusually warm for what felt like a long time. I didn’t mind at all, I was young and it was summertime, so it was a time for playing and being outside. But for years after it, people have referred back to the summer of ’76 and reflected on how warm it was and how unusual it was as an event.
So I looked up data about that long hot summer to see exactly how warm it was, after all the recollections of a child some 46 years after the event aren’t always the most reliable. I discovered that the heatwave of 1976 lasted from the end of June until the end of August, with temperatures regularly reaching over 30 degrees C for days on end with a peak of 35.9 degrees C. Water had to be rationed because of the lack of rainfall. In the 20th century this was a truly unusual event.
Last Tuesday the temperature in Lincolnshire, and also in other parts of the country, reached over 40 degrees C, the like of which we had never seen before in the UK. To me, it felt wrong somehow, to be that hot. I have been in hotter temperatures when travelling in Morrocco, but somehow it was okay there, it was what they were used to, what their houses are built to withstand. But here, in our green and pleasant land, which is looking anything but green at the moment, such heat caused me to stop and think again about what we are doing to this wonderful planet that God gave us to live on. The effects of climate change are very real; we watch in amazement as wild fires consume forests and homes, or floods sweep villages away. We cannot ignore this anymore but for each one of us the response is personal. It may not be easy, it may take a bit of getting used to, but unless we do our bit then that long hot summer of ’76 will not seem so very hot any more.
Father God, you gave us this wonderful planet to live on, we are sorry when we use the resources you gave us unwisely, help us to live lives that respect all that you created.
Song: Creation Sings the Father’s Song (Getty/Townend)