However these days my parish includes areas where Irish is popular, some of our members are pretty fluent and I’ve been able to pick up a few words and phrases.
Like this one from a couple of weeks ago – ‘Ág stealladh baistí.’
It means it’s not just raining, it’s pouring, really teeming down.
And it was. An Irish speaker might just as easily have said, ‘Droch lá!’ meaning ‘That’s a bad day!’
We would much prefer to be saying, ‘Lá galánta!’ – ‘It’s a beautiful day!’
In reality everyone knows we get some of each and have to make the best of it!
Recently we’ve been studying some lessons from 1 Kings in the Old Testament. (‘Unfinished Business: Elijah at Horeb’ can be found here on wordsurfers.com under Other Sermons) In one of our readings, God sent His prophet Elijah to announce a severe drought in Israel. For a community dependant on agriculture this was disastrous. It would be some time before they saw any more ‘good days’.
But in this particular case the ‘bad days’ had a purpose, to challenge God’s people to stop running after false idols associated with sex and money and worship with obedience the true God, the One Who sends sunshine and rain and gives all peoples everywhere our ‘daily bread’.
On a quiet stretch of road between Falcarragh and Glenveagh in North Donegal is a small bridge known as ‘Droichead na ndeor’ - ‘The Bridge of Tears’, where emigrants said farewell to their families. It seemed ancient Israel would have to cross a similar stretch of painful sorrow before they were willing to leave behind their sins and walk in God’s blessing and freedom again.
But with God times of sorrow are eased by His mercy and difficult times can open new doors for grace to operate. Let’s not remain in sin and unbelief a second longer but turn and seek His renewed favour!
Whatever the weather where you are today, humbly trust and obey God, forsake idols and commit to following Jesus daily and you will discover His blessing of what the Irish might call ‘aoibhneas’ – peace and joy.
To Him be thanks and praise.