Sweet Summertime

This Wednesday, Summer officially begins, and that evening, my church family will usher in Summer Nights by eating watermelons on our front lawn as we celebrate God’s continual blessings on our church and enjoy the longest day of the year as a faith family. We are making Summer memories.

Summer Solstice for the Northern Hemisphere starts at 12:24 a.m (EDT) on June 21. I love the summer time. Living in Northeast Florida affords me the opportunity to enjoy even longer Summers. We start warming up here by mid-February, and our weather is beautiful normally through mid-December. The Summer Solstice is when the sun is more directly overhead. In Florida, you can tell the difference by the way the sun warms your exposed skin. I remember first reporting for duty at NAS Jacksonville in August of 1986. Walking across the parking lot at the Naval Hospital, I could feel the warm sun on my arms. I still love that feeling, and I love summer in the Sunshine State.

When I think of summer, my cerebral cortex is engulfed with events from my childhood. It is crazy at how I can still smell (in my mind) Tennessee Summers as a child. I think about the summer nights chasing fire flys through the yard, I think of morning walks through the garden barefooted and eating large tomatoes that were bursting with flavor right off the vine. I remember always trying to walk on the edge of the woods to try and keep in the shade. Strawhats were part of the uniform of the day back then to help you keep that summer sun from burning your face and neck. And I think about large rattlesnake home-grown middle Tennesee watermelons.

Raising my family in Florida, I also have been able to accumulate so many summer memories here in my chosen home state. The long days of sunshine and family camping are some of my favorite memories. Summer always reminds me eating watermelon at the lake house in Keystone Heights. I love watermelon because it symbolizes summer to me. The only way that I enjoy eating it outside where I do not have to worry about the mess. My family seems to genuinely take the time to relax when we eat melons together.

Watermelons bring peace. At my first church when I would unintentionally upset one of the senior adults, a medium size watermelon always seemed to work magic. I would show up at their house with fresh melon, and my feeble words did not much matter, they always seem to forgive me and forget my grievance. Early in my ministry, I had to purchase a lot of watermelons.

When I lived on the lake, some fond memories come to mind when I think about pulling the girls all day on wakeboards and finishing up with watermelon seed spitting contest. I also remember our annual Beach Bash in Panama City where we would reclaim our beach after the tourist went home and enjoyed sitting on the beach and eating watermelon. Another fond newer memory is eating watermelon with my grandson Ben on the deck of my condo. Summer memories are the best, I enjoy the afternoon thunderstorms, and I love the smell of the salt marsh and humidity that you can feel and sticky watermelon juice on my hands.

Summer’s are for making memories! I hope and pray that you are planning on making some memories with your family. If you are not intentional, memory-making will not happen! I want to encourage you to carve out some time for your family and eat a watermelon.

You can also join us at the POINT, 4300 St. Johns Ave, June 21 at 6:30 p.m. and make a memory!

I love you all!

Pastor J<><