Gratitude for Rain


We are very hard to please when it comes to the weather. We spent the wet months of the start of this year longing for some sunshine and warm weather. When the hot spell started we all started worrying about the gardens and hoping for a drop of rain.


The lack of rain played an important part in the coming of the Christian faith to Sussex with St Wilfrid (634-710AD). Wilfrid was a talented boy who was born up in the north and studied at the monastery school on the island of Lindisfarne. Wilfrid’s talents were recognized and he was eventually raised to be bishop of York. On becoming bishop he ousted the supremely humble Chad (the possible founder of Catsfield/Chadsfield Church) who took this humiliation without complaint. Wilfrid by contrast never took any setback on the chin, which meant he could be a supremely difficult man to deal with.  In the end King Egfrid of Northumbria had had enough and sent Wilfrid into exile.


Wilfrid travelled down to the kingdom of the South Saxons, which coves what we know as Sussex today. The king and queen had recently become Christians and recognized that Wilfrid had just the sort of determination to share the Gospel with those around them. Things were not good in the kingdom since it had not rained for three years and there was a dreadful famine. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written by the Venerable Bede in 731 AD, describes how ‘on the very day that the nation received the baptism of faith a soft but ample rainfall refreshed the earth, restoring greenness to the cornfields and giving a happy and fruitful season.’ Wilfrid then further endeared himself to the hungry people by showing them how to catch fish, since they only knew how to catch eels. Wilfrid combined all the eel nets into a giant net, cast it into the sea and they caught three hundred fish.


There are, of course, plenty of stories involving fishing in the Bible. Rain is also seen as a blessing. For example the Book of Job (5:9-10) lists the ‘rain upon the earth’ as being among the ‘marvellous things’ which God does. There is such a thing as too much rain (as shown by the story of Noah’s ark), but we do need some so the earth flourishes, so let us try and be grateful when the rain falls in due season.


Father Michael

Posted By: valerie

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