School is closed.  Factories are slower.  Offices rotate vacation schedules.  Relax.  Ease up.  Sleep in.  Chill out.  Travel—mountains or the shore.  Weeding the garden,  Reading all those novels.  Swimming lessons.  Soccer camp.  Brats and burgers on the grill.  Sun tea with mint or lemon (both?!).

Summertime is about living.  What’s important to you?  What makes you who you are?  It’s how you make yourself new; how to renew yourself.  Recreation is re-creation.

Summer worship is an opportunity for renewal and re-creation.  It may not necessarily be easy-going or unchallenging.  Our Church’s theological understanding of Sunday is that it is not only a day of rest, but primarily a day of worship.  We come to worship not to escape from the world but to enter into relationships with it more fully.  What makes us Christians who we are?  How do we live in a way that gives us joy and fulfillment?

Sundays after Pentecost focus on the nature of faith and the Christian life.  It is exactly, in fact, what summer is about:  living.

Sunday, 3 July St. Luke 10.1-11, 16-20 Pentecost IV

Jesus commissions harvesters and laborers to go where he would go and do what he would do.  Risking hardship and danger in exchange for the experience of great joy, they offer peace and healing as signs that the reign of God is near.

Sunday, 10 July St. Luke 10.25-37 Pentecost V

Jesus is challenged to explain what is involved in obeying the greatest commandment.  He tells a parable rich in surprises:  those expected to show pity display hard hearts while the lowly give and receive unexpected and lavish mercy.

Sunday, 17 July St. Luke 10.38-42 Pentecost VI

During his visit to the home of Mary and Martha, Jesus reminds Martha that her concern for her many tasks distracts from the one thing that precedes all else:  abiding in the presence of God.

Sunday, 24 July St. Luke 11.1-13 Pentecost VII

In teaching his disciples this prayer, Jesus also reminds them to focus on God’s coming reign, God’s mercy, and the strengthening of the community.  Jesus encourages his disciples to child-like trust and persistence in prayer.

Sunday, 31 July St. Luke 12.13-21 Pentecost VIII

In God’s reign, the “rich will be sent away empty.”  Jesus uses a parable to warn against identifying the worth of one’s life with the value of one’s possessions rather than one’s relationship with God.

One of the tasks of the Church, is to equip the saints for ministry.  Summer worship sends us out to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, speak—act—God’s word of love.

Pastor Genszler

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