My Grandpa Luther was a lovely kind man. I remember him well: his wrinkly face and saggy jowls; his love of toasted tea cake; his warm smile. He was a man with a deep and simple faith in Jesus Christ and when he prayed he would give thanks for God’s presence and provision in the sunshine and the showers. In the ups and downs of life.
Today I’m leading the wedding of a great couple – Florence and Samuel – which will be an occasion of great joy and festivity. I love weddings. I like the fact that they are both serious (as life changing vows are said) and happy (as we share in the love and joy of the bride and groom and look forward to their life together). Happy times. And tomorrow we have a Vision Sunday at the Belfrey as we look back at God’s generosity to us and look ahead to the coming months.
As each one of us stops and looks at our lives we all have so much to be grateful for. I hope you can say with me, ‘God is good’!
And yet there are the showers too. Hard times. Difficult seasons. Confusing and frustrating things in life. On Monday afternoon in St Michael le Belfrey Church we’ll be giving thanks for the life of our good friend Neil, after a simple private funeral in the morning. Many of us were praying for him whilst he was on life-support machines, hoping and praying that he would come round and he’d have many more years with us and especially with Neil’s wife and son. But it didn’t happen. And we are sad. We mourn. We will recognise that sadness on Monday, as well as being grateful for Neil’s life.
Sunshine and showers. In a very simple way, that describes life. We must recognise both: the great times, and the tough times.
The good news is that we don’t go through either on our own. One of the bible readings on Monday at Neil’s service will be Psalm 121, which begins: ‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from?‘ The reply could not be clearer: ‘My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth’.
Our God is the Lord of sunshine and showers, both literally and metaphorically. And so it is to him that we turn and trust. So whatever you face today and in these coming days, lift up your eyes and find help from the Lord. He’s not just the Lord of the sunshine. He’s Lord of the showers too.