The other day, I spent some time on the Britannica Encyclopedia website (www.britannica.com). For the younger folks, the Britannica Encyclopedia used to be a large set of multi-volume books that most classrooms or libraries had for student research. Actually, you could say it was Google before the internet. (Oh, the irony of looking up Britannica Encyclopedia on the internet.) What I was doing was researching some background information about the season of “summer” which we just entered.
Here are some facts from the Britannica Encyclopedia:
- Summer is the warmest season of the year between spring and autumn.
- In the Northern Hemisphere, it is usually defined as the period between the summer solstice (year’s longest day), June 21 or 22, and the autumnal equinox (day and night equal in length) Sept. 22.
- The temperature contrast between summer and the other seasons exists only in middle and high latitudes; temperatures in the equatorial regions generally vary little from month to month.
Most of this we probably all already knew, but as I read on, I discovered something very interesting. Did you know that:
“The concept of summer in European languages is associated with growth and maturity.”
Obviously, the growth and maturity was most likely focused on plants and crops – not so much human growth and maturity. Yet it made me begin to think about Summer in our culture. We tell our children that Summer is the time to “turn off our brains” because school is out! We go on vacations where we relax and put our cares and worries aside. Summer is time to give education and learning a break and let our inner-child loose! If anything the season of Summer is just the opposite of the European concept.
Even though Summertime seems to be the opposite of a season for “growth and maturity,” I believe it should afford us some time for personal reflection. I like to take the Summer months to ask myself some deeper queries – ones that may actually allow me to grow and mature in my faith. I call these queries a Personal Spiritual Inventory.
As I shared in a recent sermon, this Summer I would like to challenge each of us to do some personal reflection through asking the following queries:
- What’s one joy and one struggle you experienced in your life, recently?
- How would you describe your walk with God this past year?
- Where do you feel you would most like to grow as a follower of Christ?
- What is something new about God you’ve recently discovered?
- How would you finish this sentence: I feel good about my walk with God when . . . ?
- What have been some of the ups and downs of your spiritual life since you came to faith?
- How has SFC helped you in your spiritual formation?
- What do you need from this community to continue your maturity in Christ?
These queries may be the catalyst you and I need to prompt some needed growth in our spiritual journeys. Take time to process each question (maybe take one questions a week) and let’s see if this Summer can be a season of growth and maturity in our faith!
Grace and peace, Pastor Bob+