Messiah Lutheran Church 6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634

August 2012

The Dog Days of Pentecost

The days in July and August are sometimes referred to as the "dog days" and usually are the hottest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Originally, the term "dog days" stems from the ancient belief the Sirius, also known as the "Dog Star", was responsible for the hotter weather. These days, the term "dog days" usually implies laziness and lack of motivation, much like a pet dog tends to be around on a hot summer day (i.e., to be "dog tired").

Coincidentally, July and August is a time where we may be tempted to lose our enthusiasm for regular Sunday worship. Church attendance tends to be down during this time. Hence, we pastors refer to this time of the church year, as the "Dog Days of Pentecost." However, Scripture reminds us that our enemy, the devil, never rests 2 Peter 2:6 tells us that "Your adversary the devil prowls around 'like a roaring lion, seeking some to devour.'" Hence, we are advised to "Be sober-minded", "be watchful", and "Resist him, firm in your faith", lest we get lazy and give into temptation. And Galations 6:7-9 warns, "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us now grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Sure, it's OK to recharge our batteries and "rest for a while." Jesus Himself, advising his disciples to do just that in Mark 6:31. As Ecclesiastes 3 puts it, "For everything there is a season, and time for every matter under heaven." And for many people, summer is an ideal time to get away from the usual routine. But this does not mean we should take a vacation from regular worship attendance at church and receiving God's Word and the Lord's Supper for the forgiveness of sins and strengthening of our faith. As Hebrews 11:24-25 encourages us, "... let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

If you are out of town for the weekend, why not plan to worship at a sister church of ours in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, where you can be assured that God's Word will be faithfully preached and Sacraments rightly administered? As the church office for a LCMS church nearby where you will be vacationing, or look it up your self on the internet: It is advised to contact the church you will be visiting in advance if you are planning on receiving the Lord's Supper. And, why not bring back a copy of the bulletin of the church you visited, as a record of your attendance? It would be interesting to see where our Messiah members have worshipped during the summer months.

May the "Dog Days of Summer/Pentecost" not be a time of apathy and laziness for the members of Messiah, but instead be a time of refreshment and renewal as we continue to be faithful in regular worship and attendance. Then we will reap a harvest of spiritual fruit from the sees that have been faith sown in this "out of season" time of the church year!

Pastor Wendt

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