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May 2023

by Rev. Phillip Girardin

If your family is anything like mine, the days of school are being counted down. There are discussions about what to do over Summer Break, and all the happy things that occur in this time of year. For my family, we generally came to southern Illinois during the Summer for 10-14 days. Living near family, the conversations have moved from when will we see family to, can we go do this activity?! We are hoping to get out camping like we used to during the Summer.

Like my family, many of you are making your plans to go out and enjoy the time together. As families, we should celebrate and relish these moments together. They are the time of memories and moments that frequently pass by all too fast. As the Body of Christ, and we begin to disperse over the greater regions, I would offer each of you two pieces of advice.

My first bit of advice is probably more for dad's specifically, but the head of the house more generally. Don't forget to lead your family in the way of the cross. I, personally, don't really like attending churches, on Sunday, outside of the LCMS. Other churches can be Christian, but at the same time, they don't share the confession that my children are being raised in. They don't share the confession that Heather and I seek to display and pass onto them. That Confession is important, and it is important to show the significance of it. To that end, the head of the house, whether you're a single mom, or dad, you should be leading your family faithfully while on vacation. If you can't get to church on Sunday morning, or you just happen to oversleep, don't give up on the third commandment. Remember the Sabbath day. Pray with the family God has put in your care. Sing hymns of praise to Jesus our Savior. Come together around Holy Scripture... Maybe just take your Small Catechism with you and read an explanation and talk about it. Your moment of worship together doesn't have to be complex, but even on vacation, you should be setting aside time to focus upon, and come into the presence of Jesus Christ. Model that faith, show your belief. Don't let it slip just because you're on vacation or doing something else on a Sunday morning. Just as a reminder, if you will be going to a little league game, catching the Cardinal's, or something else; there is Saturday worship all Summer long.

Attached to our travels is something a tad more challenging. Jesus tells us to go everywhere and to proclaim Him. The Great Commission becomes our marching orders, and we see this shown rather incredibly in the church holidays of May. During May, we celebrate Ascension Day and Pentecost. At Ascension Day, Jesus tells the Disciples to go out and to preach the Gospel everywhere. As His Disciples, we follow the command. If we go camping, we take Jesus with us. If we go to the Lake, Jesus goes with us. If we go visit a museum... you got it. Jesus goes with us. We take Him everywhere with us, and our words and lives become the very testimony of faith. We don't only celebrate Ascension Day though. We also celebrate Pentecost. We go forward out into the world enjoying our summer distractions, diversions, and fun knowing that we go in the power of the Holy Spirit upon you. Knowing all this, go forward joyfully into the summer. Rejoice in who you are through Jesus Christ. Carry Him with You in all things, and share Him with everyone you come across in your words and deed. Dads, keep your family in worship, even if you must lead it. Remember that in all things, the Holy Spirit is upon you. It's okay to stand out from the world when we are standing right with Jesus.

Safe travels and blessed Summer!

Pastor Phil

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