Another article for our local paper.
I spent most of Wednesday positioning myself near windows so I could see the rain falling. And, as boring as it is supposed to sound, hopefully I’ll be able to watch grass growing over the next couple of weeks.
Once upon a time rainy days were times to be dreaded, hours of lost opportunity. Now the sound of water running down the roof brings a feeling of reassurance about the continuity of life.
The thought of being eager to see grass, or any other plants for that matter, growing was far from my mind. It seemed to invoke the though of more time lost pushing the mower through a thick rich matt of ankle high kikuyu that had only been cut a week ago.
Now the thought of walking on grass and not hearing it crackle underfoot is an enticing prospect.
Time and circumstances can change perspectives.
Sometimes it takes a long dry summer to change your mind about a rainy day and lush grass.
But why should time and circumstances change our perspectives?
When you think about it, a half-year of parched surroundings only helps me to appreciate what I should have appreciated all along. It really brings me no credit to realise what I really should have known the whole time.
It would be better to develop the same appreciation without being forced to. It would be better if the appreciation grew from within instead of being mandated from outside.
In the thirteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel there is a troubling account involving some people who asked Jesus about his opinion of some people who had been subject to an atrocity. It seemed that the questioners were motivated to reflect on the tragedy in terms of what it might mean for themselves.
Sometimes we might do the same. We hear that something bad has happened to someone and we think about why that might have happened to them; we also think about what we might change about ourselves in order to avoid a similar occurrence.
There’s nothing really wrong with this in itself. It is good to learn positive lessons from other’s negative experiences.
It’s only problematic when this is the only way we learn about ourselves.
Surely our life and destiny are more important than to only think about it at times of bad news and funerals?
Jesus answers his questioners in a way that confounds their desires to exercise control in the situation, and, in effect, turns the question around on them.
The questioners wanted to know why the others had died, and what they could learn from that.
Jesus asks the questioners why are they still alive, and what could they learn from that.
It’s a harder question. The answer is not so obvious. It takes time to work out.
The weeks leading up to Easter serve many Christians as an intentional time to ponder issues such as what our continued years of life really mean, in this life and beyond.
These weeks of introspection culminate in Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, events in which God answers the question ‘What is my only hope in life and in death?’ by the death and resurrection of Jesus.