Read Matthew 22:1-14
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away” (Luke 15:7 NLT)!
Summer has always been a time I have looked forward to. As a child and teenager, summer meant that I was not in school and was free to stay up later than I could during the school year. As an adult, I long for Spring and Summer because those are the happiest times of the year for me. Let me reword that. I long for Spring and Summer because, during those seasons, I am the least depressed.
I am someone who has battled depression and anxiety my entire teenage and adult life. Perhaps I had it earlier than that; however, that is when I became aware of it. My depression and axiety are not gone during the Spring and Summer, heavens no. They’re both very much there; however, the warmth of Spring and the summer sun help to brighten my mood and make my days better than they are during the Fall and Winter.
It turns out that I not only do I have depression and anxiety, but I also have what is known as Season Affect Disorder (SAD), which is depressive disorder where the shorter days and lack of sunlight causes depression. For me, when Fall and Winter approach and the days get darker quicker, that causes my depression to be worse than it otherwise is.
So, as was aforementioned, I have always looked forward to Summer and it is durinng the summer that I get creative and have fun, especially in ministry. One such example of this is the current worship series that I am in the midst of, entitled, Summer of Love. During this series, we have explored what it means to be a part of God’s Kingdom. We learned about what it means to be loving friends, a loving community and even a loving family as a way of witnessing to the love of God as well as inviting more people into God’s Kingdom.
With a title such as Summer of Love, I had to do something fun and creative and, as far as I could see it, I could only really choose one theme: 60’s Hippies! I was going to decorate the santuary up like it were Woodstock minus some of the inappropriate elements. That means our sanctuary was beautified (in my humble opinion) by tie dye tapestries, wallflowers, peace signs and LAVA LAMPS! YES! We purchased two lava lamps and had them a-flowing during worship. As for me, check out the picture above and the one here as well. I was dressed like a hippie.
It has been maximum fun; however, it also has been a living testimony to the vibrant presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Reflecting on my own life and my own personal struggles, I must say that we can live our lives in a perpetual Summer of Love with the help of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is possible and God wants that for you and I.
How, you might ask? Well, by placing our faith and trust in Christ who promised we would never be left alone no matter where in the world we are! No matter your situation, no matter what season in life you are in (literal or metaphorical), Christ is with you and LOVES you. God has placed loving friends, community, and family around you. If you find that you are lacking those things, dig deep to see where they are in your life and also be open to God leading you to those things.
Once you realize God’s love for you, that’s HIGH that is hard to kill and certainly hard to contain. You will want to share that LOVE with others in ways that make them realize their inherent value in God. That is what God calls us to in Christ…to a perpetual summer of love where we are free to express that LOVE as creatively and joyfully we wish to! Friends, God has invited you to a never ending PARTY…who’s ready to join? See ya there!
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“All we are saying is give [love] a chance.” – John Lennon, altered by Todd Lattig
Lord, help me to grow in your love so that I might bring others into your Kingdom. Amen.