Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

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Summertime Symbols

summer-bbqFor you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat …
[Isaiah 25:4]

I’m not one who is a big fan of summer. It’s a dangerous time of year for someone of such fair complexion (some say I make albinos look tanned). And it holds little to look forward to for those of us who don’t deal well with the heat (room temperature is on the high end of my comfort zone). My heart has always belonged to crisp autumn days, or sunny winter weekends. And yet, even during this painfully summery season I do still have a favourite time of day. One that warms my heart in a most pleasant way.

It’s early evening and the heat of day has finally lost its bite. The back yard is now fully in the shade of the maple tree and between the house and the big umbrella, so is the patio. There is cooling breeze blowing off the bay. The BBQ is filling the yard with mouth-watering scents of the coming feast, and there is an ice-cold beverage close at hand. Family and friends have gathered for lively conversation and the laughter of children playing in the pool or sandbox or swing set is the sweetest music to the ear.

That my friends, even if you don’t care for summer, is an almost perfect picture of heaven.

Our days in this world can quickly become one big hot mess of suffering and sorrow. It can be hard and sweaty work with little seeming reward. It is so easy to feel burned out by obligations or suffocated by so many demands. And that’s just when things are normal. It’s even worse when they go wrong.

But God is our shield and our shade throughout. Called to His Word and Sacraments we are sustained and protected. Gathered in His House with our Christian family we are uplifted and encouraged. And when the long and gruelling days of this life are over, He is our promise of rest and celebration. Grab a cool drink, and come on in, the feast is prepared, your place is waiting …

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.
[Isaiah 25:6-8]