The importance of weather can be seen daily, multiple times a day in fact.
Every newscast carries a weathercast. A stranger from another planet could easily discern our priorities by watching our thirty-minute newscasts. The commercials that pay for the news focus on some of our needs and many of our wants. Marketers are always engaging us as consumers.
Next, we spend a quarter of the time on the top stories of the day with a heavy bias toward what’s negative. The old news adage has never been truer, “If it bleeds, it leads.”
The final quarter of the program is given to sports. We love sports and long to know what’s happening with our favorite teams. We want to know who won and lost, who got hurt, and how to think about the upcoming game or season. We live and even rest mentally by vicarious engagement with athletes and our games. Sports for many is an exercise in distraction that helps us take a mental break.
In between the ads, news, and sports comes the weather. Strange when you think about it. With all that’s going on in the world, we are naturalized to focusing on our atmosphere. It’s not enough for us to contemplate the weather we have personally experienced. Most all of us can step outside and “get the weather” ourselves. Although we have extensive access to weather details on our phones and dashboards, we still want to hear the numbers, look at the maps, and hear what’s next for a day or a week.
It’s all strange in my opinion.
“Everybody talks about the weather”
We are enamored with what the weather is, what it was six, twelve, or eighteen hours ago and what it will be twenty-four or forty-eight hours from now. Charles Dudley Warner said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
Over time, God has graciously given us more ability through science and technology to understand, anticipate, and forecast what the weather will do. It’s a useful gift. Anticipating helps us prepare and protect.
This morning I was out walking just after 5 a.m. I usually see maybe one or two people or cars out this early. Today was different.
A construction crew was already at work aided by powerful lights. Avoiding the extreme heat of our Texas summer (we are in a hard stretch of hundred-plus-degree days), the workers were pouring the concrete foundation for a new house. They knew the weather forecast and arranged their day accordingly. For the sake of the workers and the work, i.e., the slab they were building, they started before the sun would bake everything involved.
Can you imagine a world without music, trees, temperature, animals, or color? Or a world without our environment and the weather conditions that fill it daily? Would you want to?
An act of grace and gratitude
I’m grateful for these things. The heavens and the earth declare God’s glory and goodness. There’s lots of thought and talk these days about the environment. It’s been that way in the past too.
Our environment matters. Why would the local news reporters talk about the weather so incessantly unless they knew we want to know about today’s environment?
Whatever your thoughts about nature, global warming, etc., I found this comment by Frederick Buechner meaningful:
Environment. It’s too bad that such a poor word has come to refer to something so rich. The forests, the rivers, the mountains, the oceans, the deserts, the beaches, the fields, the flowers, the rain, the sky, the air. To speak of them collectively as the environment is to suggest that they are somehow lifeless and abstract. It makes it almost possible to forget that what we are in danger of ruining through our rapacity and folly is the mother who bore us and the green grave that awaits us. Is our hearts’ delight. Is home. —Originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words
In Genesis we learn that “the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 1:15 NIV). We are privileged by God with being stewards of this world—to care for it, to manage it in ways that honor the trust God has placed in us and that blesses others.
Caring for the world is another area where Christians should be leading the way as salt and light. Our stewardship of the world is a “get to,” not a “got to.” It is an act of grace and gratitude as we celebrate that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17 NIV, my emphasis). Among his gifts to us today are the rays of sunlight that broke the dawn.
Henri Nouwen wrote, “In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”
We can keep talking about the weather. But let’s do something about it too.