Stormy Weather and the Eye of the Storm
High winds and rain seem to have dominated the landscape since the beginning of the year, and as I write this short article towards the beginning of March, the wind and rain are once more hammering at the door. Flood alerts keep coming and going. I hope that everyone has managed to batten down the hatches and escape any serious problems.
Apart from the odd slipped roof tile, the churches around Loddon Reach have, up to now, been left untouched by the extreme weather and flooding. Many older churches were traditionally built on higher ground, so that they could be seen from the surrounding countryside, the consequence being that rising water offers no real threat to the threshold of most churches.
At the Rectory (in Shinfield), our main concern has been for the wooden fencing panels around the garden, which, in the high winds have rattled and clattered against the fence posts in protest. I’ve hammered in a few more nails, and wedged a tall, heavy, metal chimera, along with some weighty railway sleepers, against the weakest points; Heath Robinson-esque measures, which seem to have worked… for now!
Thankfully, here in the UK, we haven’t been subject to the ferocity of hurricanes or tornados experienced in other areas of the world; but the devastation caused by storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge around the country, has been quite bad enough. Our hearts go out to those who have been forced to evacuate their homes and businesses, sometimes not for the first time. Their lives must be in turmoil.
We must hope and pray that those affected will find the practical and financial help they need to regain some sense of normality once again. Let’s hope that our illustrious PM, the Treasury, Environment Agency, and insurance companies get their act together.
One of the paradoxes found at the centre of the most violent of storms, is a place of stillness, peace and tranquility; the eye of the storm, surrounded by the mayhem and destruction of extreme winds and torrential rains, it is quite literally an oasis of calm; a still centre.
For any number of reasons, you may be experiencing turmoil in your life, finding yourself overwhelmed by circumstance beyond your control. You may be yearning for some sort of peace, tranquility and hope beyond the whirling storms of doubt, anxiety and uncertainty that seem to encircle you.
Perhaps the concept of God at the eye of the storm as a Healing Spirit offering balm to the wounds of life might help you. All I can honestly say, is that the stillness, peace and healing found at the Sacred Centre continues to help many people.
You may remember that Jesus calmed the storm when out on the Sea of Galilee in a boat with his disciples. Jesus said… “Peace… be still” and the storm stopped. These are the same words I offer to you.
With Holy Week and Easter just around the corner, this is perhaps a good time to connect, or re-connect with the spiritual, as we remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Sometimes stepping across the threshold of a church can be quite a difficult and challenging thing to consider. If this is your experience, then I pray for you; that you’ll find courage to search out the still centre in your community.
I pray for you as I write……………………………………………………………….+
Revd Paul Willis