Dear Friends of Second Church,
Hope you are finding ways to stay comfortable during the heat!
I know it’s hotter than it should be because of our dogs.
Most of the time, they would spend the whole day in the backyard of the Parsonage.
What dog wouldn’t? There are squirrels to chase, dogs on leashes happening by who need to be told off, preschoolers on the adjacent playground to sniff — there’s a lot to do out there.
Winter also poses its own set of challenges, but even so, they’d rather be out there more often than not.
So yesterday, when I came back from schlepping a kid from softball camp and went to let the dogs out, I was surprised to see them barrel to the door, stop, stick two paws out, and then turn around with a solid “NOPE.”
Of course, being them, they still expected a treat as if they had gone outside.
“I mean, technically, dad, isn’t sticking paws beyond the door ‘outside’?” one said.
“I mean, I certainly think so,” said the other.
“Yes, so do I,” the first one quickly agreed.
“Oh come on, go out, go out,” I said, trying to shoo them.
“We’ve been,” they both said at once.
Then the older one added: “Let’s have treats now.”
There was no convincing them — I might as well have been asking them to take a ride on the vacuum cleaner.
Treat gobbled immediately, one lay down in the door. The other gazed at contemptuously like a teenager and wandered off toward the dining room.
As I said, I was surprised, but I know how they feel.
Sometimes conditions are just not conducive.
Yet there’s a lesson here.
Our faith seeks to remake us of somewhat sterner stuff.
After all, there’s not much use for a “fair-weather Christian” — fair weather doesn’t require compassion, forgiveness, or patience in quite the same way.
Those qualities are always nice to have around, of course, but it’s in the hard times, when conditions aren’t conducive, that they become truly transformational.
That’s when they bring something new and necessary into a situation.
I need to remember that.
Like my dogs, I tend to wilt pretty quickly in the heat.
My ongoing project is to become someone who still offers the fruits of the spirit even when it’s not so easy.
In fact, especially then.
See you in church,