“You open wide your hand and satisfy the needs of every living creature.” Psalm 145:17
Dear Redeemer Family:
It seems that this year we have skipped spring, and jumped straight to summer. That gives us pause to have some thoughts about summer in the Church and its themes. The summer Sundays of the church year are full of readings focusing on the building up of the body of Christ. The work of the people during the ordinary Sundays of summer is to grow. The central color of the season is green in all its myriad shades, from the sharp boldness of chartreuse to the saturated depth of forest green. The vast variety of shades of green reminds us that sacred growth comes in many ways. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth each have a place in the sacred community. How does our Sunday worship reflect the growth that is expected in the season of summer?
Summer is a time to dig into the richness of the teachings of Jesus. Summer lessons are juicy, packed full of nutritious foods for our well-being. The main focus of the season is our steady day by day growth in faith. In our lessons, worship and study we can take a cue from Jesus’ teachings. He constantly used the images of the world around him and his disciples. He was especially fond of images from nature. Think of all the simple objects from creation that Jesus infused with meaning: birds, seeds, water, waves, storms, pearls, bread, soil, and sand, to name a few. The psalms for the season, too, use descriptive and symbolic images for teaching about life in faith.
Summer is a time to celebrate the wonders and abundance of creation. It is a celebration of the goodness of God. “Taste and see that the LORD is good,” the psalmist jubilantly proclaims in Psalm 34:8. Summer is a time for dipping our hands into the vast abundance of God’s supply of manna; tasting and savoring the wonderful richness and juiciness of creation and feasting in celebration until our bodies, minds, and spirits are overflowing with God’s goodness. Let us enjoy the abundance of the multiplication of loaves. Let us eat in joy the manna from heaven. Let us not hoard the miracles of Christ, but share the abundance that is given so freely and lovingly from God’s hand.
Summer is a time to recognize the great green earth as our home. We can encourage wonder in our worship as we celebrate the marvels of creation. The season bursts with color in the variety and diversity of plants and flowers. The colors are a delight to the eyes, the fragrance of flowers and warm earth tickle the nose, the heat of the sun warms the skin, the trickling of water and the singing of birds pleasure the ears, and the sweet tanginess of fresh ripe fruits and vegetables awaken the taste buds. Summer allows us to acknowledge the wonders of nature, even glory in it. Jesus made frequent use of hillsides as sanctuaries and boats as pulpits. Jesus was no stranger to the powers and delights of nature.
Let God reach us through the abundance of nature. In summer the earth’s fecundity cries out for attention and thanks to God. Through all these works of creation and more, God speaks to us of grace, abundance, and goodness. Let us relax into the season and listen for God’s Word in the natural world all around us. As the seed that is planted in the ground is expected to grow and mature, so too the Word that is planted in us is expected to grow and come to fruition.