God and weather

The Church of England - - LETTERS -

Sir, Colin Bricher (letters, 14 Fe­bru­ary), is right to take is­sue with Andrew Carey’s in­nu­endo that God does not use bad weather as an in­stru­ment of chas­tise­ment (24 Jan­uary). If I may add to Colin’s ex­am­ples, did not God stir up ever wors­en­ing weather un­til Jonah ac­cepted his vo­ca­tion as God’s prophet to Nin­eveh?

Our canon A3 as­sures us that “The doc­trine con­tained in the Book of Com­mon Prayer ... is agree­able to the Word of God.” That it “may be used by all mem­bers of the Church of Eng­land with good con­science” as noth­ing in it is “re­pug­nant to the Word of God.”

In a thanks­giv­ing “For Fair weather” af­ter bad we ad­mit “O Lord God, who hast justly hum­bled us by thy late plague of im­mod­er­ate rain and wa­ters, ... “. While the prayer “For fair weather” ad­mits “for the sin of man [God] didst once drown all the world ex­cept eight per­sons ... we for our in­iq­ui­ties have worthily de­served a plague of rain and wa­ters, yet upon our re­pen­tance thou wilt send us such weather, as we may re­ceive the fruits of the earth in due sea­son; and learn both by thy pun­ish­ment to amend our lives, ...”

Now to Andrew Carey’s sweep­ing as­ser­tion “there is no such de­pic­tion in Scrip­ture of a Chris­tian na­tion.” A good work­ing def­i­ni­tion of a na­tion is a people united by a com­mon his­tory, cul­ture, lan­guage and val­ues.

What if its val­ues were pre­dom­i­nantly Chris­tian and the people were pre­dom­i­nantly Chris­tian? De­spite the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state, it has not stopped Jus­tice Brewer of the US Supreme Court con­clud­ing in 1892 that Amer­ica “is a Chris­tian na­tion”.

If this can be said of Amer­ica, why not our­selves from whom they de­rive much of this Chris­tian her­itage? It was our shared Chris­tian val­ues not eco­nom­ics that united the Saxon Heptarchy, and then the other con­stituent parts of the United King­dom.

Lud­wig von Mises, the founder of the Aus­trian school of Eco­nom­ics, was amazed that de­spite Bri­tain and Amer­ica be­ing ri­vals if not eco­nomic en­e­mies be­fore the First World War, the de­fence of com­mon val­ues united us as if we were a sin­gle people. He sug­gested we con­sti­tuted a sin­gle na­tion or­gan­ised as two sep­a­rate states des­tined to unite.

But what says the Scrip­tures? Tak­ing Is­rael as a type of a na­tion sep­a­rated to God, there seems no rea­son why other na­tions should not con­se­crate them­selves to Christ as God and con­clude they are Chris­tian na­tions. Fi­nally, does the Bi­ble not en­vis­age the King­doms of this world be­com­ing the King­doms of our God and his Christ (Rev. 11:15) and if they are Christ’s then they are Chris­tian.

Alan Bart­ley,

Green­ford, Mid­dle­sex

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