How’s the weather for you? How would you describe it? Warm? Hot? Pleasant? Unpleasant? Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week recorded the highest temperatures three days in a row this year. Friday’s UK maximum temperature was, I believe, 32.7ºC in Suffolk, and the average June temperature (from a relatively quick search on the internet is 18ºC). It is summer, I suppose.
For something random I thought about Australia in June which is traditionally a cold month for me because it is winter and the range of temperatures on Friday in the capital cities saw a minimum of 3ºC in Canberra and a maximum of 33ºC in Darwin. Of course, I could ask the Aussies the same thing. How do you describe the weather? It’s not so much a matter of temperature or humidity or rainfall but how we respond to it, what we are used to, and even what we feel about it. Many people have mentioned the weather to me in relation to what they can then do – sport, family festivities, and the like – and so they may ‘like this weather more’ for what they can then do.
It is true that a number of people commented that the hot days ‘mustn’t be hot for you’ and I have cheekily said that they were warm but I still physically felt the temperature as, I imagine, we all did. And it seems to me that we have in the weather – whether hot or cold – something we experience but what is more critical or important is how we approach things (our attitude) and how we describe what we experience.
Each day builds on the previous ones and our experiences grow and the weather is something all around us. Yes, we can get used to heat and cold and conditions and learn to cope with them. Yes, we can have our preferences about those weathers that physically suit us. Nevertheless a big part of our response comes from within. Our words, feelings, and actions recognise the weather and are not controlled by the weather.
Similarly with living in the world in terms of the weather-at-home, the political weather, the workplace weather – calm or stormy? – much of it is not in our control but the atmosphere or environment that we can impact and change becomes our responsibility. Predicting the weather is a fascinating thing – and we’ve all had jibes at meteorologists (unfairly I’m sure!) – and predicting the weather-at-home or wherever we are requires good tools. While meteorologists use thermometers, barometers, rain gauges, satellites, and more so we might use truth, kindness, compassion, honesty, listening and most importantly of all, for us, hearing God’s Word as Law and Gospel so that we may enjoy the sunshine and weather the storm in our relationships.
I came across this verse from Isaiah a long time ago that was turned into a prayer which reminds me that God is with me in all conditions, that the conditions don’t control me, and that I can follow Jesus – always imperfectly, I am a disciple in progress – in all weather.
You, O God, are as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the storm, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land (Isaiah 32:2).