During Lent 2014, EcoChurch Southwest (the dioceses in the southwest of the Church of England) promoted a Lent Carbon Fast, focusing on personal and domestic actions to reduce our carbon footprint. In Lent 2015, the particular focus is on the link between our use of water, which needs to be pumped, cleaned and stored; our energy use and the things we consume.
For each day of Lent, everyone who signed up is receiving a daily email with an action to consider, a bible reading and specially written reflection. Today they received my reflection on rain as a blessing.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.
– – Isaiah 44:3
At the Greenbelt Festival in 2012, Kathy Galloway spoke for ten minutes on the topic “Is God… Scottish?” As a cloudburst deposited its soaking load on the festivalgoers outside, she reminded us of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, that God sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. In Scotland, she said, “the combination of the cold damp climate and Presbyterian cultural pessimism meant that rain is experienced as a curse”, and those who were affected by the floods in southwest England last year may well agree.
But in Palestine at the time of Jesus, rain was a blessing, a necessity for crops, livestock and people. In many parts of the world today, farmers rely on regular rainfall patterns, and are struggling as those patterns break down under climate change.
God created the world and declared it good. God is a God who blesses and who promises blessings. Let us open our hands and minds to receive those blessings with thanks and carefulness.