Upon the Just and the Unjust

There is something very comforting about the gentle splattering of rain on the window, especially if that window is double glazed and the room one is sat in, is warm. Beads of water, each with its miniature rainbow, creep down to the sill leaving in its wake a tiny streamlet which twists and turns. The sound of rain can lull one into slumber.

Outside the sky is uniformly overcast and grey, the shrubs in the garden sway in the wind, and a blackbird sits resolutely defiant in the branches of the Bay tree at the bottom of the garden. Not singing, just staring into the wind and if he had a middle finger, it would be ‘giving the bird’ to the prevailing conditions. They are made of strong stuff. They eat worms.

It is difficult to make light of the new ‘rainy season’ in the UK. India has its monsoon of course, followed by sunshine. And for those that have forgotten what that looks like, just google it. They have some in Lanzarote I believe. Our rainy season started about tea time on October 4th 2019 and continues almost uninterrupted ever since. It will continue past the Ides of March, through the annual celebrations involving Eggs, Bunnies and an empty tomb, and on towards August bank holiday.

There will be respite for a few days then the rainy season recommences about October.

I’ve read my Bible. I’ve read God’s promises to Noah. A rainbow is just not good enough. Loaves and fishes and wine from water might seem impressive as miracles go, especially if you are feeling a bit peckish. Yet, if raising from the dead, the healing of lepers and walking on water are everyday trifles to an omniscient all powerful force, surely the odd break in the weather is not beyond the creator of the Universe?

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their landThe Bible 2 Chronicles 7 v13:14

Even Allah is at it:

Do you not see that Allah drives clouds gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a heap of layers? Then you see He brings forth the rain from their midst. And He sends down from the sky hail mountains. So strikes therewith whom He wills, and averts it from whom He wills. The vivid flash of its lightning almost takes away (blinds) the sight” . The Qu’ran.. Surah An Nur 43

…and as for the Jewish God:

God’s responsibility for dispensing rain in the land of Israel is a central aspect of (the Jews) covenantal identity. Not only do (they) live in a land that depends upon God for rain, but God’s gift of rain will be conditioned upon the fulfillment of… covenantal duties“. Rabbi Lauren Burkun

What do I have to do to placate whomsoever is in charge of rain? I admit to renouncing my faith, but surely the drowning of the whole of Britain for my past sins is a bit much? I don’t have a covenant with God (I’m not a Jew), and I am, it seems, at the mercy of Allah who strikes whomsoever He wills! I don’t see why the inhabitants of Bewdley, Hebden Bridge or Boscastle should suffer because I once called Jehovah a bastard? Did my observation, that Abraham was a murduring dumb c*nt for even considering stabbing his son to rid his head from ‘the voices’, displease the Deity? Anyway, I thought God used floods and pestilence to combat the outbreaks of same sex interplay rather than my profanities? What is it anyway with sex involving fluffy handcuffs, silicone dildos and buckets of lubricant that Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah or God finds offensive enough to visit an ocean of water upon our heads every Friday night?

I can be wicked I know. And so perhaps I deserve God’s punishment. I have a long list of ordinary sins, and a short list of heinous sins. I don’t know the difference between a mortal sin and a venial sin, but after a bit of searching I find that sin can be divided up as follows:

  • sins of gravitymortal and venial;
  • sins of the state of the conscience,
  • sins of act or state: whether actual and habitual;
  • sons according to the person offended: sins against God, against neighbor, against self;
  • sins of manner: of commission or omission;
  • manifestation of the sin: internal, external;
  • author of the sin,
  • sins of attention: deliberate, half-deliberate;
  • cause of the sin: ignorance, fragility, malice;
  • then of course special disordersins against the Holy Ghost and sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance

Jesus Christ, who knew sinning could be so complex? And here was I thinking a) nicking the sixpence from the meter box on the back of the rented TV back in the 1970s or b) being shown my friends’s sister’s knickers (she was still wearing them) in the garden shed at age 9 or c) giving out false scores to the teacher on non existent homework during chemistry lessons, was about the limit of naughtiness.

Upon reflection, I think I have commited a mortal sin more than once. This is sin so serious as to separate me from God’s saving grace. It is a ‘peccatum mortale‘ such as denying the Holy Spirit and is different from a mere venial peccadillo such as licking the cream out of a custard cream biscuit and then putting it back in the tin. I have a very long list of pecadillos. Some of my favourites involve wine, a spare afternoon and a willing female accomplice who has the capability and flexibility of a Russian gymnast and the energy and force of an exploding Volcano.

Sins of conscience? Well, that would depend on me having a conscience, a singular lack of which has led me down many a merry ‘garden path’ without blushing, even when caught. Just ask a certain forthcoming with her charms student nurse in Plymouth circa 1986…or was it 1989..?

Habitual sins? Well as a creature of routine, custom and habit, I am sure I can find a few that I indulge in daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally and yearly, In fact, you name a time span and I bet I can find a sin that I habitually commit within it. These habits are both things of commission, such as eating a pork pie even when sated, or of omission such as habitally forgetting to keep the promise of only having ‘just one pint’ in The Sloop, St Ives.

Why do I sin? Through ignorance? Such as not knowing the student nurse had a boyfriend before I introduced her to the joys of ‘afternoon delight’ following lectures on anatomy and physiology? Through malice or fragility? Nah, not for me the inattentive sin…I like to sin based in raw, naked pleasure rather than some ‘malicious evil towards‘ type sin. If the sin involves taste, smell, touch, sight or hearing you can count me in. That is why all night dancing in the Torquay nightclub ‘The Monastery‘ was such a delight as it involved all senses for hours or days at a time. It was my church, it was where I healed my hurts, often I could not sleep.

I was certainly Faithless.

Well, it is has stopped raining for a second. As I stood on the sea front at St Ives, I saw a rainbow arching over the bay. The lighthouse stood white and proud in the low evening light at Godrevy, below it the foam specked rocks, black and jagged in the grey green sea. For a moment, just a moment, I stood and thought that all is well with the world. Perhaps this really was a sign of either God’s forgiveness or at the very least a gift from the natural world. I could look to the blue grey heavens with the golden light spilling over my shoulder towards the rainbow, lighting up the iridescent green of the headland at Godrevy, the sweep of clean sands along Gwithian to Hayle. I stood at peace, reconciled to my past, no longer angry at capricious dieties who have nothing better to do than to torment their creations with petty malice while demanding worship and the avoidance of sex. The world is a beautiful place.

Until a gull took a shit on my pasty.

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Photo of Godrevy by Keely Schofield on Unsplash

Published by Lance Goodman

Freelance writer, bon vivant and all-round good oeuf.

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