We’re suffering through an awful heat wave at the moment. Temperatures are running in the upper 90s…and the heat index is between 100-110…dangerous levels.
One of the things that makes it worse is the humidity. We’ve had occasional rain showers–but all that does is to make it feel even more like a sauna!
So what to do?
The news keeps telling people “Drink lots of water…stay indoors…”
All good advice. But what if you don’t have easy acess to water? or if staying indoors means staying in a place that’s as hot as (if not hotter than) the outdoors? or if you don’t have an indoors to go to?
There are cooling stations set up around the area, and that’s good. But I wonder about those who have no way to get to them–for whom they are too far away.
On Sunday morning we frequently have a number of homeless people come to our congregation. Some come for the food (donuts/bagels/rolls donated by a local grocery store and provided for breakfast) and the periodic potlucks. For them it may be one of the few decent meals they get during the week–and we are glad when we have leftovers they can take with them.
Some come because something in the services is reaching them. Sometimes you wonder…but then something happens and you realize that God’s spirit is reaching out to them–and we are helping to provide a venue where that can happen.
So how do we help–without making folks feel like we are offering “charity”…somehow feeling that we are “better” than they are? They are people with pride as well. I don’t know that we have a perfect answer–but part of the answer we have discovered is to simply accept them. That doesn’t mean we agree with everything they do…in fact, sometimes the pastors have had to take them aside during the service. But because we see them as human beings–as people of worth–they act that way. They help with setup and cleanup…they take part in the services…
So…while it may be hot as **** outside (and sometimes inside, if the air conditioning doesn’t work as well as we would always like), our interactions with each other can be like a drink of fresh, cool water…