I love this time of the year. I love the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of the birds in the morning, and the excitement of thunderstorms after a long, hot, humid day. I’m also back to taking walks in my neighborhood and can’t get enough of the sights and smells of life all around me. The squirrels, rabbits and birds where I live seem to be so accustomed to having people around they don’t even bother running away as I pass – they just look up from whatever they’re doing and continue about their business. Even our hummingbird has come back to the feeder we placed outside our kitchen window last summer.
Last Sunday was Pentecost Sunday and the beginning of what is called “Ordinary Time” on the calendar of the church year. Nothing “out of the ordinary” happens again until Advent. However, the summer season represents a real opportunity for the church. Even though certain programs take a break during the summer months (Youth groups, choirs, etc.), the ministry of the church continues. It is important we continue to make worship of God and study of scripture a priority in our lives no matter what time of year it is. This is true, not only because it meets our own needs, but also because the summer months are often a time when new residents of Dayton (and others) search for a new church home. Summer, therefore, is an opportunity for us to express our devotion to Christ and our love of neighbor in real and concrete ways through our hospitality and friendliness.
I recently heard a story about a church that was planning to begin a time of greeting during their worship. The minister announced that the following Sunday they were going to initiate the new custom. At the close of worship, a man turned around to the woman behind him and said, “Good morning!” She looked at him with shock at his boldness and said, “I beg your pardon! That friendliness business doesn’t start until next Sunday!”
I hope we don’t have to wait until someone asks us to be friendly to reach out in love to friends and visitors. After all, we are in the hospitality business. I look forward to a wonderful summer of worship and learning (and friendly, smiling faces!).