Friday, June 16, 2017
The sky sermons of early summer
If, as the psalmist insists ("the heavens declare!) and the skies so bountifully attest, God the Clergyman's most awesome sermons, at least here in Siouxland, are delivered almost daily, all summer long.
He doesn't take sabbaticals, but dawns aren't really created equal. Now's the time to look because the light outside my window, early summer, will almost always grab me and the camera, revelation and inspiration just a window away.
Bend an ear to these preachments (it's hard to call them homilies). My north wall is a door to his cathedral.
If all of these sermons were delivered just for me, I'd have reason to boast--or to fear. But they're on the broad northeast sky every morning for whoever is up. Think of them as a podcast, a visual podcast. Listen, I used to feel guilty for missing church.
I'm sure meteorologists know exactly why summer sermons are most stunning. I'm guessing it likely has to do with phantom moisture. Right now, the mysteries of rainfall make farmer's foreheads wrinkle because in early summer, these skies rarely stay overcast and rain never stays around for long. Sweet and soft all-day showers are unheard of right now. Summer rains come in torrents, which means our neighbors get some and often enough we don't.
Summer storms are fickle, as whimsical as violent. Monday, I parked beneath a huge tree in Hospers just to avoid the hail. Back here, just down the road, the ground didn't even look dew-y.
That kind of luck of the draw prompts good Christian people, me included, into silly speculation about who's been given God's favor and why: "You hear? Sioux Center got a couple inches last night and we didn't get squat." When traditional dogma includes the word providence, questions about who and why don't stay where they should.
Long ago, old Ben Franklin flew a kite in lightning and taught the world that a thunderstorm was all about electricity and not God's wrath. But people of faith, like me, have trouble signing over all that power to electrons. Besides, we like to think that the sovereign God of heaven and earth is more than just a rubber-necker.
Besides, Siouxland is a region greatly blessed, where it's not difficult to get twenty inches of rainfall annually, enough to grow corn and soybeans. We don't have to travel far west to come to places where that level of rainfall would be a God-sent (see how easy I use that word?), places where it doesn't happen all that often. When it does, people are greatly thrilled.
Just a couple more shots. I've got dozens. The truth is, the real thing is always ten times better. I own no camera lens to capture the all of what I see--and hear.
And they don't get cliched.
There may well be other substantial reasons for the Schaaps to go off to church on the Sabbath, but with God holding forth like this most mornings right outside my door-- songbirds as choisters, Dickenson might say--I don't need a whole lot more from the pulpit, praise the Lord.
But, truth be known, Lord, right now it is a little dry. We could use a little rain.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 5:59 AM