The Word on the Week

The Beast from the East

The Beast is no longer ferocious. It is snowing gently now. The footsteps of last nights’ visitors, which cut through the snowdrift, have almost disappeared. Where the wind has swept the ground to a thin layer of snow, Tess the pup’s footsteps are the only signs of life.
An exception would be found around the bird feeders. The height of the snow enabled birds to eat the fat balls while standing on top of the drift. The bird table got buried when some snow came off the roof piling up to the kitchen windowsill. Feeding and drinking now is now facilitated through the window and onto the ledge.

So where did “The Beast from the East” originate? Apparently there has been a spike in Arctic temperature. Over 10 consecutive days in February the temperature, for at least part of the day, was above freezing. These recordings were made at Cape Morris Jesup on the northern tip of Greenland. At another monitoring station in Greenland the temperature rose 36C above the annual average, and for two days in February the north pole has been warmer than Zurich in Switzerland.
This jump in temperatures high over the Arctic, has weakened our jet stream that brings warm air in from the Atlantic to Ireland and Britain resulting in cold air from thousands of miles away being dragged over to us, bringing a severe chill – enter the Beast from the East!

So what happens when the Beast meets Emma? She came from Portugal whipping up a storm and tons of water as she passed over the Bay of Biscay. Despite the fact that she came from the South the rain clouds rapidly turned to snow when she met the Beast depositing her load in selected places largely in Munster and Leinster. (The UK got a hammering as well!)
The high winds which drove these meteorological events ensured that the snow would form large drifts such as those which have blocked the all the local side roads. However, the thaw has set in and there is a promise of rain which will hasten the melt.

Global climate is complicated and full of feedback loops that are not properly understood. The freak warming of the Arctic marks the emergence of a new feedback loop where increasing temperature leads to still more destabilising rises. The polar vortex, a great girdle of winds that keeps the cold air of the Arctic separate from the warmer air of temperate regions, seems to be weakening. Warm air goes north; cold air comes south. In the long run, everything grows warmer and wetter!
The weather in the Arctic has always shifted dramatically over short periods, but the drama has never been this intense since records began.

Ever since the Fall the world has been subject to futility. Indicators that point to this fact are found in many places but highlighted in the Bible in the profusion of weeds that appear in uncultivated land and in the pain of childbirth in humans (Genesis Chapter 3 verses 16/19). There is a parallel between the creation’s bondage to decay and the human sufferings of the present time. There is a groaning over the frustration of the present state we are in which will be restored to perfection when the last soul is redeemed (Romans Chapter 8 verses 18/25).

The new heavens and the new earth will have no more bondage to decay, no more groaning’s, no more Beasts from the East (Revelation Chapter 21 verses 1/4). But this is all bound up in salvation history. The Bible ties the consummation of all things to the completeness of the church – the Bride of Christ and looks to the day when the last name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

There is an intimate connection between an individual’s salvation and the renewal of the entire created order where the risen and reigning Lord Jesus will be with his people for ever (verses 5/8).