Saturday, January 7, 2012

Atmospheric Conditions

Moravian Daily Texts
Watchword for the upcoming week:
 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.
 Psalm 29:2  NRSV

It’s considered mundane to mention the weather. Chit chat.  Small talk.  And yet, the weather affects us regularly, sometimes shaping our days and often sculpting our attitudes. Case in point: This first week of January in East Central Ohio began grey as tweed and damp as a sponge mop. As the thermometer plummeted, the constant precipitation degraded from brittle mist to soaking downpour to injurious ice bullets. Snow eventually coated the roads enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be lovely, and the whole time, the sun disappeared as though it were in the Witness Protection Program. Under the influence of the meteorological milieu, the post-holiday celebratory goodwill of family, friends and coworkers quickly shriveled.

And then yesterday dawned like a gift. Dense layers of clouds drifted off to annoy someone else, and sunlight let down from heaven. Sour faces gave way to smiles, slumped shoulders transformed into upright posture. Goodwill returned. Praising God wholeheartedly became much easier to do on Friday than it had been on Thursday.

For the shepherd/soldier/poet who spent most days and nights outside in the weather, it’s not surprising that the mood of the Psalms shifts from elation to depression and back again with great frequency. Psalm 29 seems to be a weather-inspired piece that speaks to the fearsome majesty of a thunderstorm—the kind of storm that rattles a person to the core with atmospheric cymbal crashes and pyrotechnics. Such a magnificent display stirs up awe and inspiration, and the Psalmist seems genuinely compelled toward a moment of true worship.

Holy splendor.

“The weather” can turn out to be an ordinary topic of conversation when there’s nothing else of much note to discuss. Or it can be an uplifting spiritual experience—an encounter with Creation. There’s nothing mundane about that.

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