“It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes
and pleasant scents the noses.”
So wrote Nathaniel Parker Willis, and after a rather mixed and chilly May, let us hope he is right! It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to write this letter as part of the June magazine, and I am sure that at Wesley Hall, as in most other places, one favourite topic of conversation will be the weather. Given the variety that we enjoy in this country, such conversations are not too surprising.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus teaches that our Father in Heaven causes “his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”. It is of note that Jesus speaks of the sun as being “his sun” – belonging to the creator, as all things belong to the creator, who shows no favouritism when it comes to sunshine and showers.
Given this teaching, I must confess to having winced on more than one occasion in Church when a particular form of weather – usually the absence of rain – has been prayed for in relation to a certain outdoor event. Jesus’ words came to mind, together with images of other parts of the world where it matters rather more whether the rain falls, or the sun shines.
When the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray, he taught them what we refer to as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, and which other writers have suggested might be better called ‘The Disciples’ Prayer’. In their prayers Jesus encouraged them – and I would suggest he also encourages us – to offer praise to God as we recall his majesty, prayer for the values of heaven to be with us on earth, requests that we are able to find what we need for our daily lives, forgiveness for when we do wrong, the strength to overcome temptation, and deliverance from all that goes against God.
In our Christian-living, prayer can be something that we find hard, but it is also vital. We are blessed that Jesus has provided the means by which in simple words we can express so much to God who loves us.
I hope, but I don’t pray, that as we move into the Summer months we will enjoy plenty of warm sunshine during the day, and the rain that we need at night!