How has your summer been going?
When I was school-age, summers lasted forever, or so it seemed. The end of June was a slothful time as school gave way to doing nothing in particular. Fishing, hanging out, getting bored. Early July was always a family trip since my father’s factory closed the first two weeks in July. I remember those trips as being fun. And then came August.
August was the month when the garden exploded with produce. August was the month when the neighbor-ing farm stands were full of fruits and vegetables. And, August was the month when I was recruited into my unpaid, very tiring position as “Assistant” in the home-canning factory.
My mother, grandmother and great aunt started to “can” or “put up” that entire garden and farm bounty. My job was to retrieve from storage, wash and sterilize jars; peel, slice and prep produce for the three profes-sional canner-putter-uppers. Then, when the jars had been properly filled, processed and checked for proper seals, I had to transport those jars, now full of preserved fruits, vegetables, jellies, sauces, pickles and rel-ishes, back down to the storage shelves in the basement. Those treasures would feed us through the winter months when the fields and gardens lay fallow.
Although they might not be related to the solar calendar, many people experience faith seasons akin to my August. These are the times when we are busy with our faith-life, enjoying an abundance of the spiritual fruit that seems to be plentiful and just waiting to be harvested. During this season, for example, Bible reading seems to come naturally, worship is a joy and not a chore, prayer is not awkward, but seems like an intimate chat with God.
If we are prudent, we will savor all of those spiritual blessings as they take place. And, if we are wise, we will store up some of those blessings for a later time when we need them. The reason for adding to our faith res-ervoir is that, for many of us, we will sooner or later experience a spiritual wintertime. Our lives will become stressed, troubled, sometimes burdensome. We will ask God for answers or direction, but nothing is heard. We will hunger for affirmation and fellowship, but loneliness will prevail.
It is during this spiritual winter-time when our faith-field lays fallow that, if we have been wise, we can go to our faith reserves. We can be fed. For example, during a difficult time during the week, we can think back to Sunday worship and recall a hymn, or scripture reading or some words from the sermon. During a stressful time we can call upon a member or friend with whom we can count on to talk things over. The words of Je-sus come to life, “When we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6).
Whatever the rhythm of your summer, I pray that you are adding to your faith reservoir. And if your summer is not going so well, I pray that you will find the resources you need. Let me know, “How has your summer been going?"
Trust in God, Pastor Thom