Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The mid-way point of the month of July. Is it summer for you? Not sure exactly what that question may mean for everyone, many of us have the idea that it is a laid back time when hopefully we do a little less "work" and simply enjoy a slowing down. (It's a nice idea anyhow, and maybe just having the idea in mind feels good for a while.)
Summer in the church means fewer people and smaller offering. That is not a lament (OK maybe it is a little bit), but it is just the way it is, and after nearly three decades of following this call it has become necessary not to sweat some things, especially in summer. Certainly the work of the church goes on, but most importantly I am reminded that the presence of God does not lessen, regardless of the time of year, even if it might be possible to think otherwise.
Personally there has been a sweet way I have been reminded of that very clearly these last few summers. For several years we have brought home a Lilly or two after Easter has passed, and Choice has dutifully planted them in the garden. They look pretty sad when that grand celebration begins to fade (at least as measured by the passage of time), but now we have lots of those old Lillie's, and they don't look sad at all. Every spring they green up again and they have become our 4th of July Lillie's. This year around a hundred blooms. They provide that scent that usually is connected with the altar of Easter Sunday morning. They remind me that the beauty and power of the resurrection is no less real on a hot, lazy summer afternoon that at the height of the grandest of "church seasons".
The presence of God at any and all times, speaking to the whole of us. Ah, summer time.
O God, powerful and compassionate, you shepherd your people, faithfully feeding and protecting us. Heal each of us, and make us a whole people, that we may embody the justice and peace of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.