One of the (very few) things I remember from Geography lessons is that the UK has a ‘Temperate’ climate. This is a result of our latitude, our island status, the Gulf Stream, and so on. Conditions are neither Arctic nor Equatorial, but ‘Temperate’, meaning, I suppose, that it’s never going to be unbearably hot, nor unbearably cold, but always pleasant. Some of us might disagree, especially over the past few days. But then we Brits have a bit of a reputation for complaining, don’t we: in the summer it’s ‘too hot’. In the winter it’s ‘too cold’. When it rains it ‘never stops’. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and it’s all the government’s fault …….. Yet we can be thankful that most of the time things are ‘temperate’.
I know some people have found the recent heat very difficult to cope with; perhaps just because we are accustomed to a ‘temperate’ climate. Muriel and I have personally experienced temperatures of over 40 degrees, and also of -25 , both in Kazakhstan. In His mercy God always allowed us to return to the UK for the hottest part of the summer – for which we were very thankful. Our successors, however, are living there now, and are unlikely to be able to get away through July and August. We also have friends living for Jesus in Marrakesh, Morocco, where the summer temperatures are guaranteed to exceed 50 degrees; they are extremely thankful for their air-conditioning.
And another thing: some of us have got quite used to our Zoom meetings, and enjoy the comfort of home, with coffee to hand, as we chat over the ether. We are thankful for God’s goodness in allowing us to keep in contact so well throughout this difficult time. In the Middle East and North Africa, many followers of Jesus have no alternative to a screen-based worship time. They cannot look forward to getting together with other believers any time soon, but must continue to hide their faith even from their closest family, or risk persecution. SAT-7 is a broadcaster of vital Christian material that is an absolute lifeline to secret believers like this, and they are very thankful for this blessing.
And yet for us there is no substitute for seeing each other face to face, sharing our lives together, looking into each other’s eyes at close range, and we are thankful that it will be possible again, even if there have to be some restrictions for a while.
Matt has asked us to think about which worship songs are inspiring us right now, so that he can put something special together for our worship on Sunday July 5th. This is a great opportunity to review God’s musical gifts to us and be thankful for songwriters and songs. The trouble is, there are just so many to choose from! Paul says ‘Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Eph 5:19-20)
Don’t we just have so much to be thankful for?