The Church of the Holy Cross, Avening

Monthly Letter to the Parish - September 2017

Signs of Our Times

Jesus of Nazareth was a talented and graphic story-teller. He used some of the same verbal illustrations we use every day to make a point.

When they asked him for a sign from heaven he said "When evening comes you say 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast'".

Good old Cotswolds weather lore. The Met Office did some research and found 70% of us use the old saw "Red sky at night, shepherd's delight".

What's more, the 83% of us who believe this to be true, including Jesus according to St Matthew, are largely correct. According to the boffins, high pressure in the evening tends to lead to good weather. It traps dust and dirt in  the air, which scatters blue light, leaving only the red light remaining.

Good for planning a day out - but Jesus looked further and deeper, as he was wont to do. "You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." I don't know if we do much better.

We still look for "signs" to tell us what we know already. If God did give us a miraculous sign we would then expect the same power to clean up the world for us. But it's our problem. God gives us free will and longs for us to fulfil expectations. Jesus and his wisdom are all we need.

The Master actually said the only miraculous sign would be the "sign of Jonah". Nice touch, for Jonah was a prophet who went to the wicked city of Nineveh preaching repentance. Jesus' mission was to lead us to repentance.His teaching and miracles are signs we can believe and trust, and then take action for ourselves.


Richard and Margaret Maslen