Jokes about the drought are frequent. Ever since it was declared, it seems, we have had nothing but rain. April was the wettest on record for a century; it was followed by an unusually wet May. Even now the skies pour down; so why not celebrate rain and sing its praises?
It is a grey morning here in Herefordshire, but the raindrops skittering down the window panes are more brilliant than the Queen’s ‘river pageant dress’ as they trace their delicate patterns of silver and crystal down the glass. Step outside, and the rain feels warm and fresh on one’s face. The earth is soaking up the rain, with grass and trees bending under its weight. From the undergrowth comes the unmistakable smell of wet earth and lush vegetation. One can almost hear the grass growing at one’s feet. Everything is vibrant with life.
In the Bible rain is always seen as a precious gift, giving life and freshness to the earth. As befits a nation of desert-dwellers, the Israelites celebrated rain as a blessing, to be longed for in time of drought, praised as spring rain and autumn rain, gloried in as a sign of God’s gift of fertility and growth. Like them, we pray for the heavens to rain down the Just One, liken the action of the Word of God to the rain doing its work on the earth, acknowledge Christ to be Lord of sky and storm.
We are glad of the rain, for two dry winters have reminded us that it is not a gift to be taken for granted. As we sing in the Canticle of Daniel, ‘springs and showers, bless the Lord’; and as Fr Baker reminds us in Sancta Sophia, we are called to ‘praise the Lord amidst the noise of the water-spouts’. A cheering thought as we raise our ‘brollies yet again.