Across the Pastor's Desk - June17, 2005
"Summer Is For Growing"
Despite the recent weather, summer is upon us. Schools are closed for the summer holiday. Vacations are being planned and taken. Though it no longer seems to be true that schedules become less hectic in the summer months, it is true that schedules change and that change of pace can be very refreshing.
Unfortunately, sometimes the change in schedules means that less of an effort is made to regularly be in worship with the community of faith. The excuse is given that there are too many things to do and too few days to do them to let weekly worship interfere. Some will say that they can be as close if not closer to God on the golf course or in the north woods or on the lake or river. Though it is true that one can experience the awesome creative power of God in nature, it is equally true that one cannot in fact experience the redemptive nature and power of God in such a setting. That experience comes from sharing in Word and Sacraments in the gathered community of believers.
Though summer is a time when the educational ministries of congregations are on holiday just as the public and private schools are, it does not need to become a time without learning and growing in the faith. Summer might very well be the time for individuals and families to explore new avenues for witness and service. Now might be the ideal time to offer to help with a home for Habitat for Humanity, to work in a food shelf, to visit shut-ins or persons in care facilities. With the longer days of summer perhaps it is time to look for ways to have a greater impact in ones neighborhood through an intentional effort to get better acquainted with one another and to look out for one another in new ways.
Summer can also be a time for renewed interest in family devotions and the reading of the scriptures. Coupled with participation in worship, the family is guaranteed to deepen their faith and their desire to be of service in the community as a response to the love of God that has been showered upon them.
With vacation and other special plans, summer can also become a time for visiting other congregations than ones own. Such visits can expose persons to the great diversity among Gods people. To experience worship in new settings helps people to learn more about others and to be more open to them and accepting of them. Such visits do not mean that anyone will change his/her particular beliefs or practices. However, such visits will give a greater appreciation for others and the expression of their faith.
Summer is a season of growth in farm fields, as well as vegetable and flower gardens. With some thought and care, it can also be a time to grow in faith, and witness, and service by the power of Gods Spirit. Blessings to you in your growing this summer.