How many years has it been since we have had weather like this on a Memorial Day weekend? My childhood memories of the 4th weekend in May center around camping in wet and cold state parks. Yet, in spite of the weather, all the memories are fond … Memorial Day meant that summer was right around the corner.
This year Memorial Day escorted summer in with trumpets and timpani. Nearly 90 degrees … sunshine … blue skies … who could ask for anything more? I, for one, am ready for the sunny days to keep on rolling in.
Could it be that out God was sending this past weekend (and week) as a special gift to his frustrated people? That is how I am viewing it … a special gift for us to enjoy and savor. In fact, I cannot think of a reason not to look at it this way.
Now the challenge for me regarding these special gits is to show proper appreciation without abusing them. The proper appreciation comes with recognizing that these sunny days are a special gift from our loving and merciful God, and then expressing my appreciation and praise to him. And then to enjoy them for all they are worth, but without forgetting about the healthy and prescribed etiquette of the day.
My friend, Tony, has been closing his weekly Monday night online sing-a-longs with “The Common Doxology”. I did not hear him on Monday because I was driving somewhere on I-75 at the time. However, that song would have been the ideal way to cap off the weekend: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.” (I would be remiss if I did not urge you to sing this each time you wash your hands, because the song takes about 20 seconds)
The words of David are just as appropriate. “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” (Psalm 138.1-3)
The weather has been so nice, and so appreciated, that it has become much easier to forget about masks and social distancing … and then, when remembering, to be a little impatient with God for not ending it yesterday. The temptation is still to say all of this is unnecessary for me. And every sunny, warm day makes that temptation greater. This reality prompts another prayer in me.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139.23-24) The Lord sees my grievous (great word) ways, applies 2 Timothy 3.16b to me, and leads me onto a new path.
On that new path – the way everlasting – he shows me that there are many, many more things – and more important things – to be thankful for these days than just the weather. The doors he is opening for ministering to people in new ways is overwhelming. And the list of new people whose hope is being renewed by the Gospel of Jesus continues to grow. These, indeed, are “sunny days.”