thermometer vs thermostat

It’s cold outside, and it’s very white. It looks beautiful. I love snow, but I must admit I am getting a bit bored of this now as de-icing car doors to get in and scrape the inside of the windscreen is becoming monotonous. I love plying in the snow, but I also love my role in Rochester and after being away for a week over Christmas, and being away for 3 weeks a week from today while in Seattle I want to be able to get in to Rochester.

So – I’m going to reflect on something different, but related. I was thinking about temperature and thermostats the other day because the heating had broken down in the house of a colleague. The thermostat had stopped working properly. I got to thinking about the difference between thermostats and thermometers. Thermometers simply record the temperature, while the thermostat controls and influences the temperature. By sheer accident I came across this quote from Martin Luther King speaking of the early church:

The church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.

That has challenged me in my thinking and forces me to ask – ‘am I merely a thermometer that refects the status quo, or am I a thermostat that looks to make a transforming difference within society?’

I’m not sure I want to be a ‘history maker’ as Delirious sing, as that sounds full of self importance to me, but I do wish to see transformation both in my life and in the lives of those I spend time with.

As I was having these thoughts I discovered that the Epistle reading for the 8am BCP Eucharist which I am responsible for on Sunday morning is Romans 12:1-5 …. where Paul talks of transformation by the renewing of the mind …. a bit like being a thermostat. I think I may have my homily sorted for Sunday morning!

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