Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The wonderful summer months are upon us! Already many graduation ceremonies have occurred across our country. Families are making their summer vacation plans. Reunions are in the works with classmates and extended family alike. Summer is a much anticipated time of rest and renewal for many of us. The summer stack of reading material is packed and ready for our trip to the beach.
In many people’s lives, the summer months quickly pass by without much of a focus on the tremendous blessings connected to the Pentecost Season of the Church year. It is during this time of the church year that Christians focus on those dimensions of their faith life that will renew, revive, restore, and redirect them ever closer to our loving Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Here are a few simple ways that you can positively enrich your faith life through the summer months:
- Every morning pray Luther’s morning prayer which reminds of God’s presence in our daily lives: I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
- Make the sign of the cross every morning before you leave your house. The sign of the cross reminds us of our baptism and that we are beloved Children of God; forgiven and treasured.
- Partake faithfully of the Holy Sacrament. Remember this summer; Emmanuel will celebrate Holy Communion at all of their services. Special thanks to the Altar Guild for their strong and faithful support.
- Make the Bible your primary reading material this summer. Challenge yourself to read all 150 Psalms and/or one of the Gospels. Let the Word dwell richly in your hearts and minds!
- Let the faith shine through you by serving the needs of others. Remember the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen. Emmanuel has a ton of opportunities to serve others through the summer months.
- Believe it or not; the U.S.A. is the third largest mission field in the world behind China and India. Let’s equip ourselves to share the hope we have in Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord with others right around us.
- Worship faithfully even when you are on vacation. With all the technology available to us today; it’s much easier to locate a Lutheran Church near your vacation spot.
- Practice the gift of prayer especially at meal time and bed time. Here is an example of a well known meal prayer: The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15 & 16)
I invite you to open your Bibles and find these references which speak about being renewed: Ps. 51:10; 103:5; Lamentations 5:21; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:16; Col. 3:10; and Titus 3:5.
May the very Spirit of God working through Word and Sacraments continually renew you in the Christian faith and enable you to become an ever more dynamic disciple of Jesus Christ.
Blessed Summer of Spiritual Renewal and Growth;
Pastor Michael McFarland