Posted by George Morrison

Storm Dennis                        Word on the Week                  15th February 2020.

‘Met Éireann has issued a Status Yellow rain and wind warning for the entire country ahead of Storm Dennis which is expected to bring wet and very windy weather over the weekend and into Monday.’    The terse note from the Met Office does not encourage you to get out of bed this morning!

The roar of the wind made Tess, the dog, think twice about venturing out whereas she normally greets the dawn with some loud barking.    All the animals in the yard are in sheds and the hens, who dislike the wind, are confined to the henhouse.

Above the yard and around the trees flocks of rooks do aerobatics in the gusting wind.   They enjoy the turbulence but disappear when the rain arrives.    At garden level the usual tits and finches swing from the bird feeders while the magpie like the local Garda keeps an eye on the proceedings.

The land is waterlogged from previous rains which means it cannot absorb fresh rainfall.    Our drainage has been well tested and mercifully the run-off is working unlike parts of the UK where towns in valleys are particularly vulnerable to flooding.

It is at sea where we are most exposed to these South-westerly winds.   There is always a conflict of interest for fishermen to solve.   Gales stir up the sea and consequently produce a plentiful supply of food.   This makes for good fishing with the best catches made in stormy weather.   Herein lies the problem.    Fishermen’s safety is put at risk in such conditions and the skipper must weigh up the pros and cons very carefully before he puts to sea.

In my youth we fished from small open boats.   We could be caught at sea when an Easterly gale would make the harbour at our home port of Collieston un-navigable.    The alternative was to run for Whinnyfold, five miles away, where we could drop anchor in the safety of its harbour and wait until the storm passed.

The writer of Hebrews likens God’s promise and God’s oath to two cables that secure our ship which I call ‘The Hope of the Gospel’.   “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Chapter 6 verse 19).   The hymn-writer catches this idea in “Will your Anchor Hold?” the often omitted second verse reads: – It is safely moored t’will the storm withstand, For ‘tis well secured by the Saviour’s hand:   And the cables passed from His heart to mine, Can defy the blast, thro’ strength divine.”

This was one of Ann Brown’s favourite hymns.  When it was sung at her funeral I remember the powerful effect it had on her neighbours.    May they and you take to heart the saving work of Jesus.