Everything’s green outside at this time of year. Is it my imagination, or with the right combination of weather, rain and sun that we’ve had this spring, don’t the growth and grass and leaves look especially bright? It seems that the lawn needs to be mowed more than usual. There’s green. There’s life. It’s beautiful outside!
Inside the church building you’ll notice this week that the colors in the chancel area will change to green. The liturgical paraments on the altar and the stoles that the pastors wear have been changing in color throughout the seasons of the Church Year, during the festivals in the life of Christ that we’ve been celebrating since last Advent. But now, throughout the summer, there are no special festivals. Instead, the color of green will be a reminder that because of what our Savior Jesus has done for us, the Christian is truly alive spiritually and grows in faith through the Word and produces fruits of faith in godly lives thankfully lived to God’s honor.
Green is the color of life and growth. Look outside, and you’ll see: nature lives by the creating power of our Lord. The same is true of our faith and our faith-filled lives. We live by the creating power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus once said, I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) Thankfully the Lord doesn’t leave us to ourselves. If he did, we’d be dried up and dead, fit only for the fire. Our sins by nature separate us from our Holy God, and without him we’d be nothing. But in him we are saved. Remaining in him by faith, we have life – now and eternally. Romans 10 reminds us that faith comes by hearing the message and Psalm 1 describes the one who stays connected to the Lord through the Word as being like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Hopefully this summer will provide some time for you to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Perhaps you’ll have many chances to relax and get away. Everyone needs a vacation once in awhile! But, also let the ever-present green of nature remind you of the life that’s really important – spiritual life through faith in Christ. Let the growth that you see in nature this summer spur you on in your regular desire to grow in faith, which comes from hearing the message.
In other words, in all the getting away you might be able to do this summer, don’t let getting away from God’s house land on that list! Our faith needs nourishment just like the grass and leaves and crops. It’s no secret that church attendance across the country goes down in summer. Some of it’s unavoidable on our individual calendars - understandable enough. But, some of that happens just because believers, in their efforts to enjoy God’s creation and get some rest, allow a break from God’s house to be part of that rest. But really, shouldn’t it be just the opposite? There in the Word is exactly where the rest truly is! That’s where the growth truly happens!
Every time you see the beautiful green outside this summer, remember the green inside! Come and be nourished spiritually!