Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 24, 2001
The Gospel: Luke 9:18-24
Sermon: "The God of Summer"
The Rev. Fred Warnecke
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They answered, "John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "The Meson of God." He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, "The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." Then he said to them all, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it."
The God of Summer
Third Sunday after Pentecost - June 24, 2001
This morning I ask you to think with me about summer, about the spirituality of the summer - IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Friday morning at about 3AM it became summer. How do we experience God in the summer?..Feel God in our bones ... in the warmth of the sun, the heat, the dryness and the rains of this season?
Lest you worry that this is too primitive and, maybe, even too pagan, listen to the psalmist (#74:14-16)
You split open the springs and brooks:
You dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day, yours also the night;
You established the moon and the sun.
You fixed all the bounds of the earth;
You made summer and winter.
Just as the artist is known through her works so too God is known through his works. God is "The God of the Summer." This morning's sermon will paint, I hope, a collage of ideas of how you might experience a little more God of in the summer.
Summer is a time of open road - a time for exploration - for winding down some small road you've never visited before. You want to go there just because you're curious and it seems to call. God is down the road. God is to be found in exploration. God is met by the curious. "Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God." - St. Augustine.
PRAISE GOD FOR SUMMER ROADS WHICH PEAK OUR CURIOSITY. PRAISE GOD FOR OPEN SPACES.
Summer is a time for God through our free time. Summer is a time to leave our busy winter schedules, a time when the momentum of our life is interrupted. God is to be found in relaxation.
We have the privilege of being in school where we spend time reading the great literature, and science. We find ourselves writing papers, studying for test, passing examinations.
This is so ironic because the very word, "SCHOLA" from which we get the modern words, scholar and school, means FREE TIME. Schools and scholarship were originally meant to interrupt the busy times and to create some space, some free time to contemplate the mysteries of life. Now school is a time of pressure. So Summer lets the schools out and it presents free time to us. Time for a rarest of activities - time to think.
PRAISE THE GOD OF THE SUMMER WHO GRANTS US TIME TO THINK.
Summer is a time for the experience of God through rest. GOD IS THE God of the Sabbath. God Himself rests. In one of the lovely Genesis creation stories, God works and then rests.
"Thus the heaven and earth were completed with all their mighty throng. On the sixth day God completed all the work he had been doing and on the seventh day he ceased from all his work. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on that day he ceased from all the work he had set himself to do."
In summer's rest we meet the God of the seventh day - the God of rest. In rest - "in returning and rest you shall be saved. "Be still and know that I am God," saith the Lord, ... Be still
PRAISE GOD FOR SUMMER'S REST WHEN WE MAY BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD.
PRAISE GOD FOR/ IN THE SUMMER!
Summer is a time for the soul to experience the God of Play. Summer reveals the playfulness of God who creates such an awesome variety of plants, and flowers, and hills and valleys, and bugs and dogs and trout... sandy beaches and wooded mountains, rippling brooks and frothy oceans.
Summer is a time to give thanks for - using the words of Carl Sandberg, "FOR THE LAUGHTER OF CHILDREN WHO TUMBLE BAREFOOTED AND BAREHEADED IN THE SUMMER GRASS." God of Play delivers us from too much seriousness.
ALL PRAISE TO THE GOD OF PLAY!
ALL PRAISE TO THE GOD OF SUMMER.
Summer is the time for the God of memory - to return to old haunts and familiar places. Iona Hall writes:
THE HEAT IN MY KITCHEN
HAS MELTED THE BUTTER -
SOFT, YELLOW LUMP
IN A GOLDEN PUDDLE.
I DIP A PIECE OF BREAD
IN THE PUDDLE
AND PUT IT IN MY MOUTH;
SUDDENLY, THERE THEY ARE!
ALL MY CHILDHOOD SUMMERS.
Summer is a time to be in touch with old haunts.
PRAISE TO THE GOD OF THE SUMMER WHO BRINGS US MEMORIES.
Summer is a time of stories. A time to read stories, to discover new stories. Loren Eisley, the biologist, tells the summer story of the star thrower. The star thrower is a man who walks the beach and carefully throws any starfish he sees washed up on the share back into the ocean. Asked one day, "why does he do that? There are so many beaches and so many starfish washed up on the shores of the world! What difference does it make that you threw that starfish back into the water?"
The star thrower replies, "It makes all the difference in the world to that star fish!"
ALL PRAISE TO THE GOD OF SUMMER.
Summer is a time for the God of work. In the summer the farmer must toil long, long hours. The farmers perhaps more than the rest of us knows the God of the Summer. He knows how dependent he is for the mixture of sun and rain. He is aware of the rhythms of life, of how the seasons come and go. How the God of the summer is bringing forth his fruits in due season.
Here in the summer we all experience from the farmer's labor some of God's most gracious gifts. Tomatoes and Carolina peaches were in the farmer's market yesterday. And that greatest of all gifts of grace from the God of the Summer ... FRESH PICKED CORN!
With all the delights of gourmet eating, the French and the Chinese Cuisines, there absolutely nothing better than fresh picked corn.
GOD IS GREAT
GOD IS GOOD
AND I THANK HIM ...
FOR SUMMER'S FRESH CORN!
ALL PRAISE TO THE GOD OF SUMMER!
I hope that these ideas may open for you an awareness of the beauty and grace of God this morning. I hope that this summer time, however you experience its rhythms, will be a SPECIAL GODLY TIME!
ALL PRAISE TO THE GOD OF THE SUMMER!