It’s supposed to rain in Silver City today.
There shall be showers of blessing: this is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing, sent from the Savior above.
Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need:
Mercy-drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.
Daniel Webster Whittle published this song in 1883. I wonder if he wasn’t caught inside in a spring rain with his small daughter and penned this song to help her be OK with having to stay inside. Major Whittle was a Union Civil War veteran who turned to faith at the bedside of one of his soldiers who was dying. In having to pray for the boy he himself was brought to faith out of compassion and a deep sense of his own unworthiness. He went on to meet Dwight L. Moody and, with James McGranaham, who wrote the music for this song, became an itinerant evangelist. I see in his conversion experience the groundwork of God’s hand in the compassion that won out over his own lack of faith. A portion of the first Epistle of John reads, “ Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”1
Compassion: In our current immigration brouhaha, when will it become illegal to love one’s neighbor as oneself? Am I already liable to the council for standing in amazement and awe at the wonder of another human being exactly as they are? As in the days of Roman persecution of the Church, how will I be judged if I keep my head down during these days because I am white and have an American passport? Will I be judged “apostate” by the hardliners who paid a heavy price for their beliefs to be readmitted to communion only after confession and penance? How will I feel if I hide behind my white privilege and let my friends of color be treated like criminals for running for their lives from their beloved homelands and coming here hoping for justice and mercy? On the other hand, what will be the price of standing up to the madness? Friendships are already on the knife-edge. What about political freedom? Social standing? Status in the Church? Maybe the first casualty is my own peace of mind. Maybe the first question is how to maintain one’s center in the storm. Only from there will other questions find wise answers.
It’s supposed to rain in Silver City today…
1 I John 4:7-8, NRSV