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Spiritual Matters

Change on hand in heaven and earth

August 06, 2014 - The Greeks and the Romans referred to the Dog Days of Summer as an evil time "when the sea boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad and man became hysterical." They were generally talking about the sultry days of summer most commonly experienced in the months of July and August. According to the 1552 edition of the Book of Common Prayer the "Dog Daies" began July 6th and ended August 17th. On the modern calendar that would be July 16th to August 27th.

Named after Sirius the "Dog Star", 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 the sun. Owing to changes in the earth's rotation July 3rd to August 11th are the days Sirius rises with the sun this year, the "Dog Days" of summer.

For some people this is the best time of the year, for others the worst. Some thrive in the heat, the outdoor activities, swimming, boating, fishing, etc. Others take shelter in the comfort of their air conditioning awaiting the cooler weather before venturing out during the day. As I grow in years I find that my tolerance for hotter weather has decreased while I am more tolerant of a little hysteria.

One constant in life is change. Our individual responses to change range from denial to overreaction. We go to great measures to resist change; we cherry pick 'facts' to support our prejudices such as those who point to the increase in the extent of the Antarctic ice shelf while ignoring the overall decrease in its density.

And we take extreme measures to combat threats that may or may not exist; we project doom and gloom such as those who focus on the possible catastrophic effects of sea levels rising in greatly increased rates beyond the current level of change.

A cooler and wetter than normal summer plus a colder and snowier than normal winter raise doubts in people's minds as to the reality of global warming.

And, these local effects are offset by the observations of global temperatures rising, the overall shrinking of ice caps and glaciers, plants and animal species migrating north with the increased length of the growing season, record heat, drought and wild fires out west, etc., etc., etc.

Last weekend Toledo's water supply was threatened from an overabundance of algae caused by a combination of over fertilization of lawns, rising water temperatures in Lake Erie and a multitude of other factors. Evidence is growing that changes are at hand. Do we deny, react or respond to the changes in our lives?

Jesus ushered in a change in consciousness to our planetary body. The time for waiting for heaven are over, the belief in a heaven out there above the clouds is no longer valid, the idea that we have to earn our way into heaven is cast away. He sent his disciples out into the world saying, "As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'" Matthew 10:7.

Jesus located heaven as being "within you" (Luke 17:21), "at hand" (Mark 1:15) or within your reach here and now. He likened it to a man who sowed good seed, a grain of mustard seed, leaven in the flour, a merchant in search of fine pearls, a treasure hidden in the field, a net which was thrown into the sea (see Matthew chapter 13) and other actions. It is not a place to go but an experience to live here and now.

This is our opportunity, to live "in the world" (see John 17:16) conscious of our connection with God: Heaven, and not "of it" caught up in the worldly appearances of doom and gloom. We are neither in denial of nor overreacting to the appearances; we do respond appropriately. We respond with confident assurance that Divine Order, Divine Timing and Divine Guidance are active in our lives and affairs.

Thank you God for it is so!

Rev. Matthew E. Long is pastor of Peace Unity Community

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