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Of Dog Days and Simple Gifts

With the heat and humidity that we've been experiencing here in Indiana in August, I'm reminded of what we used to call the "Dog Days" of summer. According to the Farmers Almanac, some people think of it as those hot humid days of summer "not fit for a dog" or days that make dogs go mad. But actually it turns out that the term Dog Days was coined by the ancient Romans and the phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius (sometimes called the Dog Star), the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

As a kid growing up in a house without air conditioning, I recall the days of August for our frequent trips to the creek to cool off, and as a window of time squeezed between the frenzy of spring and early summer plantings, and the looming pressures of the fall harvest and preparations to care for the livestock during the frigid winds of winter. It was a time when the pace of life slowed, but it was also a time to appreciate and enjoy the simple gifts from the garden, the gifts of fresh green beans and vine-ripened tomatoes. It was a time when we could look forward to my Dad coming in from the field and announcing, "The sweet corn is ready".

Maybe it's because this is my first summer of full retirement, or maybe it's because the virus has slowed our pace and kept us focused closer to home; but I can't ever remember the tomatoes and sweet corn tasting any better than they have this summer!

In a strange way, I feel a little that way about our worship services. It seems to me that despite the technical challenges of piecing it together and streaming it, despite the occasional problems as we try to adapt and make things better, despite the ongoing presence of the virus and lack of being able to physically gather together, despite it all I don't ever remember a time when the worship services seemed more meaningful or more welcome.

Perhaps it's a result of the blossoming creativity of all those who have contributed their time and talents to creating the content, the music, the liturgists, the pastors. Perhaps it has something to do with the relevance and currency that Pastor Kim brings to her ministry.

With apologies to those among us who are scrambling to cope with uncertainty and loss, maybe our virus constrained lack of distractions has played a part as well, as we've been forced to slow down, limit our travels and appreciate the simple gifts we can find closer to home.

Blessings on your day and stay safe!

Jerry Kahrs

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