15 He sends his command to the earth.
His word arrives there quickly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool.
He scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He throws down his hail like pebbles.
No one can stand his icy blast.
18 He gives his command, and the ice melts.
He stirs up his winds, and the waters flow.
Psalm 147:15-18 (New International Reader’s Version)
If you’ve been looking at the news today, you will see that a snowstorm is pummeling the Tristate (NJ/NY/CT). In fact as I write this, snow with sleet is coming over my town of Plainfield; which will later turn back into snow before exiting tonight. Mass transit has been either running on modified service, shut down, or soon to be shut down. Roads are pretty abandoned as schools and offices are closed; and others (like me) work from home. Power outages are the concern for the Jersey Shore and Long Island. Don’t let my photo above fool you; it may look “tame,” but far from it. We have our area governors issuing bans and other storm-related edicts.
As we dog-sled through Lent, we’re getting a lesson in humility. We’re watching tiny snowflakes falling from the clouds and banding together thanks to cold ground temperatures. Factor in the wind those little flakes, can shut down an entire metropolitan area, and dictate to us what do do and where to go. Nature is powerful when She wants to be and is not afraid of our little attempts at controlling Her.
Today’s Scripture text is calling Israel (and us) to praise God-reminding us of His/Her goodness and power. The text also reminds us of God’s power through Nature. In fact, the passage used is relevant for the weather here in God’s Country. We’re witnessing God’s power through His/Her acts of nature: wind; snow; hail (or sleet); icy blast…God ain’t playing. We as human beings need to recognize that it’s not about us: God is still in charge.
However, let’s remember God’s goodness. Despite all the shit in our world (or today’s weather), God has been good. He/She still has kept us collectively and individually. In my case, God has kept my family and I safe in our home, warm and able to keep in touch with others. I have my health and strength and creativity. Many of us who are reading this post still have many blessings that others in this world wish they did have. And God has been good to us when we sure as hell didn’t deserve it. Again this should remind us that it’s about us: God is still in charge.
We need to realize God’s power and goodness should make us humble, not in the groveling “what a worm am I” sense. We’re not the “center of the universe” as some want to think. We are vulnerable to Nature and to God’s will-like it or not. When we realize this vulnerability, we will be develop a sense of humility in our relation to the greater scheme of things. We also need to realize how dependent on God we are. This is important for Lent since Christ spoke of his vulnerability and dependency on God. This humility will not make us weak, instead will make us human and wise….
Teach us to realize how short our lives are. Then our hearts will become wise.
Psalm 90:12 (NIRV)
In our age of rabid nationalism, ethnocentrism, and chauvinism, we need humility. For in the final analysis, we’re all vulnerable-like it or not. Maybe if we learn humility, not just for Lent, we’ll be human and wise.
‘Nuff said. Peace.