Revd Jackie

Rev. Jackie Bullen
Vicar

Predictions

One of the greatest scientists of the early 20th Century, Niels Bohr - the first to put forward a theory of the atom based on quantum mechanics – once said “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” The opinion pollsters learn this lesson the hard way time and time again and yet still seem convinced that they can predict the way that people will vote. But, away from politics, tragically, our inability to predict natural disasters can lead to great loss of life and damage to homes and livelihoods. Storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, all strike and cause mayhem and require great effort to reduce the effect on people and the environment.

Knowing how easy it is to get predictions wrong never seems to stop us, though. Even before summer is over, meteorologists are predicting that we will see another ‘Beast from the East’ this winter. The headline says ‘First two months of 2020 could rank as seventh coldest in three decades, scientists say’ So do we start knitting our woollies now?

Vast amounts of money are made (and lost) in the world’s financial markets by people who are basically attempting to predict what will happen to the price of commodities, or the level of interest rates. If she were here, my grandmother would probably say, “And the band played - believe it if you like.”

So why should we take the Bible seriously when so much of it seems to consist of predictions?

Biblical prophecy is not about predicting the future, it’s about reading the present. It doesn’t say “this will happen, I have foreseen it”, like the Emperor in Star Wars, instead it says, “this will happen because…” or “this will happen unless…”. When I say “if you keep crossing the road without looking, you’ll get run over” I don’t have to see the future, just look at what’s happening in front of my eyes and apply my mind.

So, the Biblical prophets, like Amos, had a lot to say about the corrosive effects on society of those who, “trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, and practise deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.” It was obvious to Amos, and it’s obvious now, that if a society allows the rich and powerful to do whatever they want, and doesn’t look after its weaker members, it’s heading for disaster.

So, whatever your views on politics or religion; now is the time to think carefully about the society we inhabit and how we want people to be treated. Perhaps now is a good time to put pressure on our Members of Parliament and those who make decisions at a local level, to govern for everyone’s good.

Justice, mercy and compassion for all people will allow us to see a new and promising future. As Amos also wrote “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

With best wishes and prayers.

Jackie