I am officially sick of winter and snow and the fact that almost every Wednesday which is “church night” thanks to the death grip the school systems have on the rest of the lives of our children, we have had blizzards and bad weather and had to cancel all kinds of things. Winter has a tough effect on folks after a while and people start getting touchy and grouchy. There are supposedly, real verifiable physical and emotional effects to lots of snow and cold. Of course frost bite is pretty obvious but seasonal affective disorder is a little harder to diagnose among people who are prone to chew your face off even when it’s warm and sunny, but the disorders exist. I always felt that winter up here in the North country got worse when there was no snow because the black dirt from the fields begins to blow all over and the country side looks filthy and black and the rugs in the entryway are covered in a black mud from the back snow. After a while you start to wish that a good round of snow would come and whiten things again. Then it does and your back to just wishing it would all go away.
Anyway one of the great books of all time is Bo Giertz’ “Hammer of God”. It is a great book. It is not just a great devotional book or religious book, it is a great book and although it has been somewhat mistranslated it is good stuff. It is helpful to know about Swedish and Finnish and Russian and Danish politics and battles and some of the wars that took place back in the day to get a feel for the setting of the book but even that is not really necessary. My point for this blog is that the human condition is pretty universal because after all we are all human, but the way we react to that condition is a religious issue. So in a setting of war and displacement in “The Hammer of God”, there is also a big Wednesday snow storm. It is examined in the light of a young women’s faith and internal dialog. Her name is Britta –
Her sense of security was a deeper thing. She understood nothing of politics – and she was not quite convinced that her husband and the other arguing parish leaders understood anything either – but she had a deep and unquestioning trust in God that was proven in the school of prayer. She felt how God lived and was present everywhere, how his rule entwined itself round the most trivial things in the kitchen and the nursery, and in her heart she was certain that it was no different in the puzzling business of the big world. She took it almost as a consolation from
God himself that he allowed the great snowfall to happen on this black Wednesday and that he allowed this wonderful sun shine when every hour was full of suffering, because one knew that the poor people now were packing their belongings and leaving their homes over there in Karelia. It was as if God wanted to say: Yes, my children, that’s how evil you have made the world, but now I am spreading the whole cover of
the Atonement over the dirt and the bloodspots – as I spread the white clothing of Christ’s righteousness over you all in baptism, as I clothe the sinner with the same righteousness, if he believes, and one hour on your deathbed shall spread the white burial clothe of the Atonement over your poor heart if you fall asleep believing in the merit of Jesus” .
Think on these things when you get sick of the next snow fall.
From Bo Giertz “the Hammer of God” – Fortress Press ebook