Dog Days of Summer

Stepping outside over the past couple of weeks has felt a lot like stepping into a convection oven. When the heat index reaches the triple-digit range, it gets dangerous to do too much outside. And it is more important than ever to stay hydrated! As most of you know, I’m not a huge fan of the heat and humidity. I much prefer the spring and fall with more moderate temperatures.

However, I do appreciate that we have four distinct seasons in Missouri. I just wish we didn’t have them all in the span of an hour some days! There is something to be said about the changes the seasons bring. The long daylight hours of summer do allow for much outside work to be accomplished, even if frequent breaks to drink water are needed. The cooler days of fall are a welcome respite from the heat of summer, and the harvest brings with it a celebration of months of hard work. The cold dark days of winter give us the opportunity to rest and reflect. (And I particularly like the time to warm myself by a fire, with a good book, or a cup of coffee and some conversation.) Spring is a time full of excitement of the new life that pops up everywhere the eye can see.

Maybe it’s because my own children are maturing, or maybe it is watching the young men and women of the church grow into young adults, and the young adults into parents, or grieving those who are no longer with us… Whatever the reason, I’ve found myself being a little reflective and pensive these past few weeks. Many of my thoughts have been centered on what season we are in as a community of faith. What season am I in as a pastor?

Some years ago I had a long conversation with some of my ministry colleagues about a similar topic. During that conversation it became clear to me that God was calling us to focus on scripture, delving into the Bible intentionally in a way we had not done in the first years of my ministry here. That was the impetus behind our past two year-long studies through scripture.

However, I have a deep sense that we are being called to something a little different at this point in our journey. I am feeling a strong pull to wrestle with some of the topics of faith, and how they relate to our daily lives. I long for a deeper sense of connection, to God, to one another, to my own faith and spirituality. And I believe I know how I would like to approach those topics, addressing each one through a short series of sermons. The way I imagine this happening is spending two to six weeks on each topic, examining several different scriptures and perspectives, all focused on empowering us to understand and live out our faith in a meaningful way.

HOWEVER, I know I can’t do this alone. Furthermore, I really have no desire to try. Because, honestly, I really don’t know what YOU will find most helpful as topics for these mini-series. This is where you come in. I desperately need you to share with me the topics which are most meaningful to you. Maybe it is dealing with grief, or anger, or forgiveness… Maybe it is questions about the soul, or heaven, or even the dreaded topic of politics… I especially want to hear the topics you might think are “silly,” or those you think might be specific to only you. Because one truth that I have found through the years is that someone else is definitely wrestling with that same topic, or has in the past and has some wisdom to share.

So, beginning this Sunday there will be a “Sermon Suggestion” box in the foyer, accompanied by some slips of paper for you to share your ideas with me. I’ll also be posting a form on the church website, and I hope to even post a form on Facebook as well. Of course, you are free to tell me your ideas in person (be warned, my memory is pretty slippery these days), call, text, or e-mail me as well. I truly do hope you’ll join with me as we dive deep into what it means to call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ!

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