As I write this the sky is grey and the rain is lashing down, as it seems to have been doing for several days. I can’t readily remember the last time we didn’t have any rain in Halifax for a 24 hour period, and it seems ages since I saw the sun.
I’m reminded of a thought that came to me whilst I was on retreat last month at Ffald-y-Brenin in Pembrokeshire. It’s a beautiful place, set high on a hillside and surrounded by lovely countryside, but it’s very prone to heavy rain. The rhythm of daily prayer includes a short liturgy at lunch time which includes the words “As the rain refreshes dry, stale land…”, which seems appropriate to some degree, although I doubt that the land around there ever becomes completely dry!
As I was joining in lunch time prayers one day it was another phrase, “As the sun rides high at noon…” which caught my attention. I smiled to myself and thought that it would be a lovely change to see the sun that day. Then I had that other thought: even when the sky is grey and the rain is hammering down, the sun is still shining although we can’t see it. The Holy Spirit reminded me that when circumstances are very difficult, and even when it seems that he isn’t anywhere to be found, God is still present. He is still shining his light, pouring out his love, reaching out to us, even when we can’t discern his presence or his activity.
Reflecting on these thoughts later that day I recalled God’s words to Joshua, “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”, and the Jesus’ promise to his disciples, “I am with you to the very end of the age.” It was still raining, but I was able to give thanks that come rain or shine, in good times and difficult times, God is always with us.
I held on to this comment overnight before submitting it and woke up this morning to the sound of more rain on the velux window and the disturbing news of flooding in parts of Yorkshire and areas further afield. Please join me in praying for those worst affected, and for all whose lives have been disrupted.
Rev Heather Pollard, Halifax Group, Minister