Nothing like being immured on a wet Welsh hillside for a few weeks, crippled, sick, suffering unimaginable indignities*, for encouraging a definitely different view of the world. Take Eglwyswrw in Pembrokeshire, for example. This is the Welsh village which, three days ago, had endured 82 days of rain.
And all they were wondering was whether they would break the UK record of 89 days held by a Scottish village for the last 92 years! How pathetic! Today’s OT reading should have given them a hint.
Genesis 7:v12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
That’s just half the time the people of Eglywswrw endured, and survived, thanks to God’s rainbow promise. (Rainbow as in Genesis 9:v13)
So why weren’t they celebrating? Why no great church festival of worship and thanksgiving and joy, and a very definite feeling of “Look at us. We’re Biblical record breakers.” It’s a farming community, for heaven’s sake. Why not a mad, messy service for everyone, including representatives of every living creature in the village, from the school hamsters to the biggest carthorse?
Does anyone still read Dorothy L Sayers? In ‘The Nine Tailors’ there’s a wonderful description of how a village survived a flood, thanks to the church. Having grown up in Christchurch, one of the most isolated of Fenland villages, she knew what she was talking about. Something that comes across in that scene is the sense of exhilaration from triumphing over disaster.
There’ve been more than enough watery disasters this winter, and people have overcome them with cooperation and community spirit. If there have been lots of glorious celebrations in churches in these areas, of thanksgiving and joy at what has been overcome and what has been achieved, I wish they’d been better reported. Welby and Co have played a blinder but pigs in the church porch would make such a welcome change from Primates and sex.
*The ice cold hands of my one and only husband, so far, doing up my bra.