The past few days have brought winter's glancing blow and frizzly breath to October--cold winds, some snow. Most of us are just annoyed. Like the President's Nobel Peace Prize; whatever else may be said about it, it is premature. It has come too soon. We had counted on a few more weeks of Indian Summer!
In a small way, the early arrival of winter reminds us of our personal limitations, of our national set-backs, and of our global anxieties. The daily lections from Obadiah this week say, "You say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?' Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, says the Lord" (Obadiah vv.3-4). We had collectively hoped for a worldwide and continuing Indian Summer, but snow has fallen too soon! We have been brought back "down to the ground". The earth itself groans and labors to feed her billions. The poisons of a few decades of prosperity are filtering into our waters. The economy, whether it is recovering or busted flat, is an immense fable few of us truly understand. Wise and humble leadership seems rare, and nationalism or "cause-ism" rampant.
We hope that all of this is just a warning, a glancing blow of winter, an instructive thump of threat. It might be. The sun might shine again, even tomorrow. But, it's also possible, as a Poet says, that "Winter is icumen in, lhude sing goddam." We sing the many verses of that song now because cold times have hurried toward us. They are the times we probably thought other generations would need to face, but they have come to us now. What will we do when history twitters us by name and writes us just one word, which we fear: "Calamity"? Whether that true Winter has come or not, now is the time to find a way through its snows bv a holy path of respectful prayers, christly deeds, innovative risks and lives given to the common good.