In 2020, we’ve all spent time mourning the celebrations, opportunities, and general peace of mind we’ve lost due to the coronavirus. Of course, some sufferings have been worse than others; but I’m pretty convinced that ALL of us have lost SOMETHING important to us along the way.
However, there’s something to be said for focusing our attention not only on the hardships we’ve endured, but on the blessings we’ve experienced. As I was driving to the church this morning, I found myself thinking about our recent weather.
All the COVID-19 experts tell us that there is a significantly lower chance of catching the virus if you’re outside in open air, compared to being indoors. We’ve all seen restaurants setting up temporary outdoor seating (and cities even closing streets to accommodate them), families and friends gathering at local parks, and the unexpected resurgence of drive-in movie theaters. One of Olivia’s birthday presents was a fire pit that we used for the first time on Saturday night when the weather couldn’t have been better.
Since we restarted our in-person, biweekly Men’s Breakfast in June, we’ve been sitting outside under PVCC’s front porch – and we haven’t had a single gathering negatively affected by weather. The Women’s Ministry met outside once over the summer. We’ve had church leadership meetings while sitting in the grass. We even managed to get an abbreviated season of volleyball in. Conditions were perfect for our outdoor Fellowship Meal this past Sunday, and it looks like we have another beautiful evening in store tonight (just in time for my Small Group to meet on our driveway).
In short, we’ve had some beautiful weather in Fishers recently, and that’s been a great advantage for the life of our church. Good weather is something we can always thank God for – but especially right now. If not for the good weather we’ve had, many of these ministries may not have been able to gather (or if they did, it would have been more difficult and less enjoyable).
In the Book of Common Prayer, there is a dedicated prayer of thanksgiving for good weather. That may seem strange to some of us; however, it isn’t strange at all for those who depend on good weather for survival. If you were a farmer reliant on a robust crop for your family’s wellbeing, you’d thank God for good weather. If you didn’t have a roof over your head at night, you’d thank God for good weather. And if you were muddling through a pandemic that spread most effectively when people are gathered close together indoors, you’d thank God for good weather (oh wait; that’s all of us right now!).
The Book of Common Prayer’s “Thanksgiving for Fair Weather” goes like this:
“O LORD God, who has justly humbled us by your recent plague of heavy rain and high waters, and in your mercy has relieved and comforted our souls by this seasonable and blessed change of weather; we praise and glorify your holy Name for this mercy, and will always declare your loving-kindness from generation to generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”
Again, I don’t mean to trivialize or dismiss any of the significant losses we’ve all experienced due to the coronavirus. They’re real, and you’re allowed to grieve over them.
However, instead of ONLY dwelling on the bad things we’ve experienced these past six months, there’s wisdom in intentionally thinking more deeply about (and praising God for) the good things we’ve been given. For me, one of those good things is beautiful weather. You may not feel the same way I do; but I’m sure you can think of something.
I’d challenge you to take a moment and consider the ways God has been kind to you in the year 2020, even if most of the year so far has been dominated by stress, uncertainty, and frustration. When you determine what that blessing is, thank God for it – and ask Him to give you more of it.
I’d also encourage you to take advantage of the beautiful weather we’ve had recently (and appear to have in store for at least another few days). Go on a walk and examine the beauty of God’s creation. Meet a brother or sister in Christ for coffee, and sit outside and have a long conversation (and if you have six feet between you, look at each other’s faces with no masks on for the first time in months!). Meet with your Small Group, attend this week’s Men’s Breakfast, or mark your calendar for our Fall Bonfire on October 10.
I believe that God is sovereign over the weather. And recently, he’s been very kind to those of us who live close to Prairie View. May we praise him for this blessing in a year full of hardships, make the most of it while it’s here, and ask God to give us more of it.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)