The Rainy Day

I have always liked cards that carry an inspirational message and over the years I have amassed quite a collection.  In the midst of a difficult time, I came across one with ‘Into every life a little rain must fall’ on the front.  At the time it gave me great comfort.  This idea that from time-to-time the skies of life will cloud, and the sun of hope will be hidden from our eyes.  That there will be some days when everything seems just a little grey and we walk with our heads bowed, carrying burdens that, often invisible to others, cause our shoulders to stoop and bring a heaviness to our tread. 

With the ongoing challenge this pandemic time is offering, along with the relentless reports of the atrocities of the war, we may feel as though the people of the world cannot manage much more trauma.  And all of this happens as a backdrop to the day-to-day of everyday life: love lost and found, health challenges, little disappointments that cause us to stumble.  It may feel as though more than a little rain is falling in our lives.  And for people of faith, I think, as with generations of believers before, the scriptures can provide both insight and invitation into how we are to live during these times.

I can’t help but notice the powerfully raw human experience of struggle we observe in the scriptures of the Easter season.  We are 21st century witnesses to the rainy days of the earliest apostles.  They disagree, share disappointments and struggle to find their way as a fledgling community of followers.  Even though their absolute belief in, and commitment to, Jesus is held in common – how this is to be lived in the context of their world is a source of ongoing struggle debate.  We have read, for example, of Saul’s conversion from persecutor to missionary (Acts 9:1-20, Friday of the Third Week of Easter), the attempted stoning of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:5-18, Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter), the stoning of Paul (Acts 14:19-28, Tuesday) and then there are the many internal wranglings over matters of inclusion.  And yet they continue to proclaim the Good News.  They dust themselves off and move on to the next challenge. 

And in these last few days the daily gospel has offered a sustained reading from John’s Gospel.  There is a particular Johannine term, abide, that appears over forty times in John’s Gospel.  From the classical Greek ‘menó’ (menein) it can be interpreted as: remain, stay, stand fast, live, dwell, last, endure, stay where you are.  These terms all have the Greek verb menó, or its forms, in their etymology.  And I wonder if this is something that our ancestor Paul and those earliest apostles took into their hearts, and something that holds a clue for us about the rainy days of life.  When we hear ‘remain in me as I remain in you’ for example, (John15:4, Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter) we might also hear the invitation to dwell at ones’ own house, to stay as a guest in someone’s home or to abide or to sustain unbroken friendship and companionship with someone.  We may remember the times when we have had a friend who has remained with us and is always present to us in times of need.  This is the promise of the God of Easter, I think.  A God who remains, stays, stands fast, lives, dwells, lasts, endures, stays with us.  

And then it helps to remember that while the rainy days can be challenging, we observe from nature that rain is also life-giving.  It brings refreshment and growth to the natural world – and so it will be with us in life.  And it doesn’t last forever!  The clouds eventually dissipate and the light returns. 

In my contemplation during one of my rainy-day times, I discovered that the phrase comes from a poem by Henry Longellow:

The Rainy Day

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

May the God who abides bless us all. 

By Cathy Jenkins

 

 

Faith Reflections

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Anna McGee

Another excellent inspiring article.Thank you Cathy

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