Well, here we go. The Texas heat is here both in quality and quantity. The temperature plus humidity should put the heat index around 105 degrees over the next three days. This sort of heat is just a fact of life for those of us who live in Dallas. In the summer of 2011 there were a record 45 consecutive days with 100+ degree weather. That was the summer we moved to Dallas. We arrived on June 24 - the first of those 45 days.
I’ll never forget noticing the beautiful trees in the older neighborhoods of East Dallas. I was surprised to find some of the same variety of trees I’d grown to love in North Florida here in Dallas. But, those trees - especially the magnolias - didn’t have the same life they did in Florida. It’s as if the intensity of the heat and the relative lack of water had taken a toll on these majestic blooming trees. Their reserves had been hit, and you could feel it.
Following Jesus isn’t dissimilar from living in the Dallas climate where in particular seasons the heat gets turned on, our reserves get hit, we really begin to feel it, and a toll is taken on us, just like those majestic magnolias. In following our crucified Lord, we face all sorts of trials, transitions, and attacks - it’s just a fact of life. Oftentimes, we will experience that heat in these moments and their aftershocks.
This Sunday we’ll have our last sermon focusing on kingdom culture and ordinary time. You’ll recall that to survive and thrive in this season of the mundane and the minutiae, of a thousand insignificant decisions and their cumulative effect, we have to breathe in the values and soak in the culture of God’s kingdom. This Sunday we’ll look at the lynchpin of that kingdom culture, the fountainhead from which all other values of the kingdom flow. And, perhaps not surprisingly, we’ll find ourselves looking at a tree.