Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer! Have you ever wondered about that phrase? Wikipedia defines “dog days” as follows:
“the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere the dog days of summer are most commonly experienced in the months of July and August, which typically observe the warmest summer temperatures.”
Wikipedia goes on to explain,
“The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise. The Romans would offer a sacrifice at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather. Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time; ‘the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.’ according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.”
The dog days of summer often produce in all creatures, including humans, the condition of being languid. Indeed, folks droop, feel weak, and even exhausted. The conditions noted by Brady – burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies (frenzies) – may not be seen very much except in cases of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. People often do pull back during the summer and participate less in many organized activities. The heat is often blamed for not doing some things.
In a land where we can see hot and humid in the summer and freezing cold in the winter, it takes a great deal to hold us down. No record breaking heat wave will thwart our efforts to proclaim the risen Lord. No matter how languid (droopy) we are, we open our hearts and share the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. It is during the Dog Days of summer we start to get ready for the fall. It is during these weeks that we produce new plans for ministry teams and programs, when we look for a new exciting start for the new program year.
It is also during this time that we need our whole community of Zion to continue to pray to see how God is leading you to be involved in this community. Have you ever thought about serving on a Wednesday night? Maybe helping on a Wednesday night supper team, becoming a Confirmation small group guide, singing in the senior choir or ringing in a handbell choir. Have you thought about serving on a Sunday? Maybe teaching Sunday school, joining a welcome crew, helping with communion or altar guild?
While we “suffer” through the dog days of summer we have the opportunity to look to the future to see where God is leading us. And we know the Holy Spirit gives us relief from the Dog Days, whenever they occur. Like a refreshing summer rain that brightens our flower gardens and makes our shrubs lusher, the Holy Spirit reminds us that the drought of sin can be overcome by the living waters that flow from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Come to the living water.