I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice . . . your spiritual worship. . .Romans 12:1 NRSV
Noticing all the people out and about when the glorious warm weather appeared recently, it was like we were a bunch of lab rats finally let out of our cages! People were all of the sudden, outside, out and about doing everything fun and serviceable in the sun. Gardening, mowing, exercising, weeding, fix-it jobs, doing errands, heading to the beach, and you name it. People were out of their houses and into the great outdoors.
To me this is what summer is all about. School will soon be out unless one is doing summer school. And even that is different than the ordinary schedule for the rest of the year.
But the Promise of our living God is that the extraordinary work of the Spirit continues on his amazing ministry through you and me regardless. This is what Paul the apostle is saying to those Roman Christians about our bodies being a “living sacrifice.” It isn’t an offering to God to make a relationship. You have that already. It isn’t to win points with God. Not the way it works at all, of course. It is more along the lines of being “living service” that comes from outside of us from God alone. God is working for the good of our neighbors through us.
Which is to say our lives in the Spirit are not occasional services by nature. Rather, when the Spirit has a hold of us, it is a living faith, a calling by faith. A life gifted and empowered by the living God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That means God is bestowing gifts of the Spirit on God’s people to be encouraged in faith and to encourage others in faith.
God promises to make the Body of Christ, the Church, what God wants it to become. And God lays out and bestows the gifts of the Spirit on his Church so that the Body may be renewed and transformed. And that Body lives by “life-giving” service and wit- ness to what God is doing.
Whatever you do this summer for fun, exercise, refreshment, personal study, goofing off, camping, hiking, traveling, good fellowship, entertainment, service, family bonding times, weddings, and inspiring worship—may it all be to the glory of the One working his perfect will in and through you. God is making “his living” effective in us by renewing our faith in what God is up to.
God is doing that every day, non- stop for God’s own. But in the summertime, what God is doing feels especially “freeing, renewing, new.” By the living mercies of God, have at it for a fun-filled summer – in this season of the Spirit who came at Pentecost. We kick off our celebration of the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost to re-create us anew on Sunday June 4th. Kick off the Summer in Christ, living in you, the hope of glory. And then live by that powerful spirit of resurrection daily.
Reading a good book, swinging a golf club, spiking a volleyball, painting the house or getting hands dirty in the soil, marveling at a sunset, catching a silver, worshiping a Savior who gives us all we need and more – this is my hope for the summer.
Soaking up the rays in God’s sure and radiant promises in Christ, in season and out!