Summer of Love

It is summer…well officially there are still three days remaining to the spring season, but the temperatures are reaching 90° or close to it, so I’d say it’s summer!

 

A few summers ago, the church I attend celebrated the season with “Summer of Love” being our theme. The world was remembering 1969, so we utilized that year for our theme, décor, and design.

 

There were events scheduled throughout the summer with one being a large worship service on July 4th at a local park. There was music, worship, preaching and communion held as we gathered to share our faith in this open arena.

 

We had a love bus. An older Volkswagen van that was painted with a 60’s theme and it had our “Summer of Love” logo painted on the front. At the end of the summer, a name was drawn from the names we collected throughout the summer and that person was given the love bus.

 

Throughout the summer, church staff were encouraged to take the love bus to their neighborhood. I took the love bus home one evening. I sat outside with a cooler filled with popsicles and passed them out to my neighbors. It was a great opportunity to share a cool refreshment with them as well as what was happening at my church.

 

The morning after this small event, I was seen driving the love bus back to church by a friend. She called me later and said she saw me and was so excited to see the love bus out and about.

 

I recall how excited the folks at church were that summer. They anticipated what might happen next. They looked forward to being with other believers during weekend services. They wanted to be part of the happenings.

 

I wonder if it wasn’t somewhat like this as Jesus traversed through Galilee. The anticipation. The sights. The healings. The crowds. The teachings. Jesus. It must have been so exciting for the folks of these small villages to host the Messiah.

 

I also wonder where the excitement is. Shouldn’t we be excited to be at church on a weekend without a publicity plan or a media blitz or a sensational program? Oh I get it, Jesus isn’t there, but the message is the same. His message is still being taught. There still should be excitement over that.

 

I must admit, I’m feeling a bit “eegh” about heading to church myself. Not because my faith is wavering or because something has happened to make me feel this way. It’s just what I’m feeling. This post is really more for me than for you, my reader.

 

But you know what I’m talking about. You know, “it’s Sunday morning and I feel like being lazy today” kind of feeling. Or, “it’s the only full day that I have to spend with my family this week” kind of feeling. Or, “this has been a crazy week” kind of feeling. Or, “the mountains are calling my name” kind of feeling. Or, “put whatever excuse you want to put here” kind of feeling.

 

We all get it. It happens to all of us. But we must regain the excitement of being in God’s presence. So let’s take a look at some Scripture to see the importance of being in God’s presence. Then maybe, we’ll regain some of the excitement we lack.

 

God assured the Hebrew nation that His Presence would be with them and that they would find rest in His Presence. “The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (Exodus 33:14 – NIV)

 

Deuteronomy 12:7 (NIV) mentions that rejoicing is in order in God’s presence because of His blessings. “There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.”

 

Ezra 9:15 (NIV) reminds us of our guilt and that we find repentance in God’s presence. “O Lord, God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.”

 

King David knew he would find joy in God’s presence. “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11 – NIV)

 

Psalm 31:20 (NIV) tells us that in God’s presence, we find security. “In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.”

 

There is light in God’s presence. “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” (Psalm 89:15 – NIV)

 

We listen and learn in God’s presence. “So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” (Acts 10:33 – NIV)

 

In 1 John 3:19 (NIV) we find we belong to the truth and are at rest in His presence. “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.”

 

With all of these blessings I find by being in God’s presence, why am I not as excited as I should be to be with Him? I can come up with yet more excuses, but what I need to spend my time doing is getting excited. To get out of the doldrums of the summer and have a great desire to be in God’s presence. That’s what I need to do.

 

So today that is my plan. Read through these verses again and let His joy, rest, truth and safety flood my soul with excitement. I choose today to let His presence fill me with His excitement. Are these the actions you need to take today? If so, will you join me?

 

The “Summer of Love” and the love bus were fun. I’ll admit it. But I cannot rely on my church, my friends, or my minister to bring excitement to my spiritual life. I must do that by being in God’s presence. And that is exactly where I’m headed.

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,

 

Donna

 

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