Summer is on the horizon!
Gone are the two-story high snow piles that used to stand just beyond the church parking lot. Out my office window I can see the whole Prayer Garden which was covered with snow along with a higher snow drift beside it. The snow was there until about the middle of April. There is a peacefulness when the world is covered in snow. While sometime inconvenient, the snow days offer time for us to rest or catch-up with the undone parts of our life. It seems the world becomes quieter.
Spring is upon us, and summer will soon be here. Green trees, flower gardens, grand fields of crops that wave in the winds, and the warmth of the sunshine. Summer is the time for friends and family. Picnics, family reunions, parades, softball and baseball games and ice cream in the shade. Our family has always liked being out in the countryside. My wife’s family enjoys their summer adventures by travel trailer and my family has always had a lake cabin to visit for time away from the normal routine. Over the years, Gwen and I, and our kids and grandkids, have found a respite at our lake cabin near Itasca Park.
I always appreciate the Gospel stories of Jesus teaching along the countryside. The Gospels tell of Jesus’s journeys and the persons and crowds that he meets. There are times when Jesus tends to those in need, healing, comforting, and teaching about God’s love for the world. The parable of the Sower, the calming of the storm on the sea, feeding the multitudes on the hillsides … they invite us to experience in a close way God’s presence in our world. Like Matthew 13:1-16 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables. Or maybe Matthew 14:13-21 Jesus withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went to shore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick … and Jesus ordered the people to sit on the grass. Taking the five loaves and two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves … all who were hungry were filled. I can sense Jesus’ teaching along the lake shore when the setting sun hits the water and the lake dances with sparkles of light….and in the calm of night when the summer heavens are lit with a blanket of stars. Just imagine what God can teach you and me from our favorite summer places.
Take time this summer to enrich your soul. Read a book. Try the Message Bible translation by Eugene Peterson. Find a Psalm or two that speak to you. Here are a few: Psalm 8,23,46,67,100,121,127,129! Recently I read an article in livinglutheran.org that says that ‘looking’ is both a discipline and a skill. It’s something we can do intentionally and get better at with practice. This includes looking for Jesus! As spring erupts around us and summer begins, may it help us to see the new life Christ’s resurrection brings to our world and our lives. Take time to see the world around you. Enjoy summer worship wherever you find yourself. If you are traveling try a new place of worship, maybe a place of worship near where you spend your weekend. Remember Martin’s will always be open every Sunday morning. All are invited to “Sundaes on Tuesdays!” this summer at Martin’s - which will be more about ICE CREAM than worship! Check the church summer calendar. Maybe Jesus will be there too!
Summer blessings! Pastor Mark