He sprinkles the snowflakes like birds alighting;
they settle like a swarm of locusts.
The eye is dazzled by their beautiful whiteness,
and as they fall the mind is entranced.
He spreads frost on the earth like salt,
and icicles form like pointed stakes.
A cold blast from the north,
and ice grows hard on the water,
settling on every pool,
as though the water were putting on a breastplate.
(From the Book of Sirach)
This may be the warmest year since records began, but cold snaps continue. Eastern Europe has been experiencing extreme low temperatures recently.See this article about the deadly freeze in Czechoslovakia This is always the time of year when I find myself praying most for Russia and Eastern Europe.
North America has been having record Arctic lows too. Beyond the distress of the short term freeze, the sheer quantities of carbon dioxide now contaminating the world is of immense importance, and surely most worthy of our prayers. This link is to New Scientist’s ’Guide for the Perplexed.’
Talking of power cuts, it is never too soon to pray for long-term solutions for electric supplies. The National Grids of several major industrial nations are far closer to the edge than governments care to admit – it isn’t hard to predict the utter chaos that even a few hours without power would cause. The recent major fire at Didcot has only made an already precarious situation worse. And while we are about it, let’s pray for people whose own energy supplies feel severely drained, that the Lord will find powerful ways to sustain and enhance and enhearten . . .
New President in Romania!
Talk of extreme weather reminds me of the time when we were at Living Waters in North Wales for a New Year conference back in the late 1980’s. (We had renamed the centre ‘Freezing Waters’ because the weather was so cold that year)! It was just before Romania ceased to be a communist country, and they were suffering from repeated power cuts. When one hit us in North Wales, the worship group immediately started playing Eine Kleine Nacht Musik in the dark from memory, and we all began to pray for Romania.
It was an enormous blessing to hear the results of the recent election in which Iohannis Klaus was unexpectedly elected President. The Financial Times has described this as the most positive political event in Europe this year! (NB: This link can only be viewed by taking out a free subscription.) He and his wife had impressed me very much, and I have subsequently heard that they may well be believers. They are pledged to take a highly active stand against the corruption that is plaguing the country. They will, however, be at odds politically with the Prime Minister and his government and so will need special grace to be effective.
It is remarkable that Romania have elected someone of German ethnicity, in a country where minoroties, particularly Hungarians and Jews, have been very badly treated.
Closely aligned with Angela Merkel in outlook, Ioannis is determined to act against the deep-seated corruption that is so prevalent in the country. Let’s keep him in prayer.
Finally, some background to the Scale of British Borrowing
In the light of the truly colossal levels of borrowing our country has fallen into, there are extreme concerns for the future of our economy. George Osborne, as is his wont, is endeavouring to take a more sanguine view of matters. However you interpret the figures, the fact is that it is going to cause a great deal of insecurity and misery for many, it is never too soon to be praying for the Lord’s mercy.
See these articles for initial analysis.