Over the last few weeks, it seemed as though August’s oppressive heat simply would not let go of our area, leaving us with the odd simultaneous pairing of the rollout of pumpkin-spiced everything with the persistent need for cold, tangy lemonade. But then – finally – the summer heat began to melt away, revealing the first few hints of crisp, cool autumn. We welcomed football and relished the end of baseball, but just as soon we watched the clouds rolling in, forcing us to say goodbye to September under umbrellas and rain jackets, the piles of leaves that should have been blowing in the breeze now pummeled into wet piles of submission.

And that brings us to this weekend, when the drizzle and clouds still would just not let go, and we were all forced to choose between windshield wiper speeds that were either too fast (causing the dreaded SKRONK sound against a dry windshield) or too slow (with cars pulling in front of you with their rooster-tail spray, causing immediate blindness). Even then, patience was ultimately rewarded, when the sun’s tendrils of light finally broke through to begin the dry-out.

All of this served as a backdrop to the launch of a weekly worship service. Gina was in emergency “craft project” mode all weekend, hemming fabrics and carefully choosing pieces for the altar. The songs for the service were on constant replay in my head, and I had the feeling of having a phantom air guitar perpetually strapped on. Nerves and expectations were high in our house, and come Saturday night, our dining room once again was piled high with churchy items and musical equipment to load up in the morning.

But after months of preparation, soul-searching, research, prayer, and dress rehearsals over the summer, in a strange way I at least felt ready. Maybe it was semi-delusional (it’s possible), but counting back a month or so, the music aspect of what we’re doing just seemed to gel. To me, it’s seemed like all the other teams of volunteers felt the same way.

And maybe that’s why Sunday morning, it all turned out so darn well. Practice, preparation, doses of faith and humility – all in the proper amounts, whatever they are – but it worked. And new people came, and it was wonderful to see them, but above all it felt reverential. Somehow, with lots of sweat and thought, we had once again transformed an elementary school cafeteria into a church, but for this kickoff Sunday, it felt better than any other Sunday before. It felt alive.

The possibilities ahead give me goosebumps even bigger than can the chill of the autumn air, the kind that go deeper than the skin and penetrate down to, oddly, warm my soul.