Does anyone around here recall a crazier July in terms of weather? On the morning of July 2, I put on a sweater to drink coffee on my back porch at 59 degrees. Those few days of cool were followed up by several miserable triple-digit days. Then we had another stretch of days of cool temperatures and glorious, refreshing rain. Yep, the old saying is true—if you don’t like the weather in Texas just wait a half hour or so.
Have you ever noticed the way temperature affects people’s moods? Those cold-natured, reptilian folks who obviously have no blood get downright testy when the A/C comes on. It can make life tough for warm-blooded normal people. Ok, I was just kidding with the “reptilian” and “normal” comments, but those who are like me can only take off so many articles of clothing. For the rest of you, can I get you a blanket?
I’m not sure temperatures contribute to testiness anywhere more than in church. In my 20 years as a pastor, I used to fantasize about mounting “dummy” thermostats on the walls and really controlling the temperature from one central, secret location. That way, all those people who come inside and walk directly to the thermostat before their bodies adjust could crank it to their hearts’ content. Just turning the knob or pushing the button would help them psychologically, but they wouldn’t really be messing with the perfect temperature that I had set so I would be comfortable. It is, after all, really all about me.
I was texting this morning with my favorite daughter (who is no longer sick, by the way) in India. This was their final Sunday of their ministry trip before they begin the trek home on Thursday and arrive at DFW Saturday afternoon. The church they were with has no building. They meet in the pastor’s home. This is a three bedroom, one bathroom home where nine people live. People walk for miles to get there for worship on Sunday. Some are lucky enough to have a motorcycle or scooter and some of them traveled as far as sixty miles to get there. The house has one “swamp cooler” window unit and a few fans to circulate the air when the intermittent electricity is actually on.
Two weeks ago, about fifty people crowded into that little house for Sunday worship. Last Sunday, there were almost seventy. This week, favorite daughter counted over ninety. Thankfully, they were not there in June when temperatures of 130 are not unheard of. They have only experienced 118 at the hottest during this trip. Even days in the 90s with humidity and no A/C feel like, to quote her, “the surface of the sun.” The worshipers didn’t head for the thermostat. They couldn’t have pushed their way to it, even if there had been one.
Humbling, isn’t it? Maybe they could teach us something about how much our lives matter to God.