Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Weathervane

April 7, 2009

A mighty wind is blowing this morning, a real test for my newly installed rooster weather vane perching permanently on the roof. This rooster has been in the garage for several years, waiting for some brave installer to secure him high on the peak of the roof. My original thought in purchasing it was pure whimsy – a quaint reminder of a simpler time, a timetable of nature, offering a little charm to my home and garden. But it really works! I can hear it from my desk, moaning and droning as it spins and turns. Today as I have checked it periodically, it is pointing directly North, meaning that North is the direction from which the wind is blowing –and I can attest that yes, the North wind is, in fact, cold and blustery on this April morning.

Because I really don’t know much about them, I researched a bit and found some interesting but probably useless information about weathervanes –but then maybe you will get a question playing Trivial Pursuit (a game that Megan loved). The word vane means flag or banner and supposedly there are writings of weathervanes as far back as 3500 years, but the Greeks get most of the credit for their creation. And then a papal edict in the 9th century required every church in Christendom to be mounted by a cockerel (or rooster). This symbol was a warning for the people to recall Peter's betrayal of Christ (John 13:38) "I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times". , And while these roosters were at first not intended as weathervanes, they were eventually combined with the weathervanes that already dotted many steeples to create the familiar rooster-shaped weathervane common today. And if we had lived hundreds of years ago in our young country, we would look up at the sky, study our weathervane, and decide that as long as these winds persisted, winter was still around and we should wait until the winds change to plant our crops or sow the spring seeds. We would wait for direction from nature.

It is often direction that we need and are in search of, but sometimes we go in the wrong direction. Things happen that distort and confuse and we just spin round and round slowly wondering what to do. Whichever way the wind blows is the way we go – sort of the path of least resistance. It is much easier to “go with the wind” at least for the short term. Sometimes we do not realize how hard one direction might be, so we turn and go in another, losing our bearings altogether. Peter is a good example of this, like the early church reminded on the rooftops. He waffled often in his ministry with Jesus and yet Jesus said gave him his new name which meant “rock” and said “follow me”. Peter often shifted in his direction, wimped out, and spoke without thinking. Most of us can relate to Peter. Maybe that is why he was chosen. He was real with human tendencies. I am sure when Jesus told him that he would betray him right before his death, Peter probably thought that was absurd. But scripture says when that in fact happened, Peter wept bitterly. The story doesn’t end there though. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to certain people – the women, and to the disciples where he spoke specifically to Peter. He asked him three times if he loved Him. Peter responded three times that he did love Jesus. And Jesus then said, “Feed my sheep.” Scripture tells us that Peter went on to be one of the greatest evangelists in the early Christian church.

Is there a lesson from his life? Maybe that it is “better to be a follower who fails than one who fails to follow”. And as Christians experience this final week of Lent, coming in repentance of our failures at the foot of the cross on Good Friday, followed by the good news of Easter Sunday, may we all sing one of Megan’s favorite hymns “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” with new meaning, with a revived direction in our lives to follow…and not forget. My weathervane will be a reminder.

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