Minister's letter

 

A thought for the summer from the Revd. Bob Conway

August, ahh! Like many others, I have childhood memories of August that only ever involve amazingly hot and never-ending sunny days. A time when we roamed free, the sun never set, and the dogs always lay around listlessly, soaking up the warmth and energy of the sun. We were in what were called the ‘Dog Days of Summer’, and as kids we simply associated the name our parents gave this time of year with the inactivity of man’s best friend, and the summer heat. Of course, originally, the phrase had nothing to do with hot canines, with or without onions. It was all about what people saw happening above them, because the ‘Dog Days of Summer’ refer to the dog star Sirius and its position in the sky, or should I say, the heavens, in summer.
 

For the ancient Greeks and Romans, the hottest days of summer, coincided with the time that Sirius begins to rise just before the Sun, from late July through August, and this is why they referred to summer as the ‘dog days’. Of course, we now know that the occurrence of this phenomenon changes in time, depending on latitude and other factors, but it is nevertheless why the ancient Greeks and Romans, and many people today, refer to the July through August period as the ‘Dog Days of Summer’.
 

For us, these warm, sultry, and pleasant ‘Dog’ days are not only a time to consider the wit of ancient Greek astronomers, they are also an opportunity to consider the wonder of what some ‘God Days’ might mean to us, as we relax and enjoy the Sun.
 

For many people, the major times for the Church are Easter and Christmas, but one of our major Christian festivals, the Transfiguration of Christ, occurs during August, a real ‘God Day’ in the ‘Dog Days’. This celebrates the time when Jesus took Peter, John and James up the mountain to pray and while they were praying Christ’s appearance changed, he shone, his clothes became dazzling white, and both Moses and Elijah appeared in order to speak with him. It marks the moment for Peter, John and James when their relationship with Jesus changed forever. He was transfigured and they were transformed. And God spoke to them saying: “This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to him”. And, for the sake of our planet and ourselves, we should too!
 

We should listen because we can all be participants in the wonderful transformations that God can reveal, because the “Transfiguration” isn’t just something that was a once and only event some 2,000 years ago, and it wasn’t something that only ever happened to Jesus. It is something that is available to each one of us. It is part of our transformation when we understand what God can do for us, and for the world. I have seen it in the light that suddenly goes on in someone’s eyes when they see their child, or grandchild for the very first time, when couples are committing themselves to a life together, when someone really gets to understand what faith in God means to them and how much it enlivens and changes their lives – because faith brings freedom, not burdens. God wants each of us to be transfigured by faith.

 

    So, in the God Days of the Dog Days – May peace and every blessing be upon you,

 

 

 

Bob Conway,
Associate Minister
Fromeside Benefice