Extreme God

Four months ago, I was preparing to leave Phoenix. In early September, it was still pretty common to see the thermostat register 110-degrees. Of course, that was downright breezy after the July and August heat waves, which would sometimes reach 119. (But it’s a dry heat! Um…so is your oven).

Fast forward to yesterday in my new midwest location. Wind chill of -16. Math is not my strong suit but I know there are a lot of digits that fall between -16 and +119. I’m amazed at my body’s ability to process and cope with this dramatic (and somewhat sudden) transition. I’m also wondering why I didn’t plan this better?! I mean, with a bit of foresight, I could have avoided a Phoenix summer AND a KC winter, and enjoyed 12 straight months of lovely, moderate sunshine. Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20. (And y’all, ‘20’ is still dang cold.)

Still…as lovely as a trip to the desert sounds right now, I am glad to be back in a place that moves through four distinct seasons. Changes in weather patterns and vegetation bring a sense of rhythm to our days. The shifting air and light impose a kind of order on the human experience that no climate control system can manufacture. Maybe it’s just my inner Appalachian girl talking, but enduring some weather-related misery a few times a year makes us all the more grateful for the first blooms of spring; the warm, starry, summer nights; the crisp, colorful fall; and yes, even the snow and arctic wind that send us indoors for an enforced Sabbath. In each turning of the year, we are powerfully aware that God is with us. The God of the blizzard is also the God of the sweltering desert—and every clime in between. That creator is at work in all the world—and even in us—to make all things new.

As I begin a new season of minsitry with a new congregation, I look forward to learning how the rhythms of the church year shape the life of this community. And, at least for a short time, I will embrace even the coldest arctic blast as a message from the Holy–who gives us morning sun dancing off the snow-covered prairie; the dramatic clash of red bird against solid white earth; and soup, to take the edge off the cold.

Even so…I may hope for an early Easter, just this once.




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  • We also can hardly wait to celebrate Ishtar, when the sƱn rises further North to finally overcomes winter’s darkness at the vernal equinox (of the Northern Hemisphere.) Goodness, the “polar vortex” was enough!