I was watching the new weatherman giving the forecast in early June. He commented how hot it was even though "summer" had not yet arrived. I do not know where he moved from, but I suppose it was some place like Michigan. Summer? We have rainy season. Give him a few months, and he'll learn.
Growing up in south central Mississippi, I know all about thunderstorms in the afternoons of hot, humid days. Still, rainy season is a little different. Our latitude nearer the equator gives us an almost tropical, genuine rainy season. Rainy season is as much a definer of Florida as is the dry, sunny season called "winter" everywhere else, but the Chambers of Commerce conveniently omit this fact in their touting of "the sunshine state."
Rainy season reminds us of rain. Rain has a history. Once the earth was a fire-ball, but when it cooled somewhat, it threw all the water in the world into the atmosphere as vapor, and it fell back to earth as rain. It rained so much that the entire planet was covered with an ocean. Only when the fire inside the planet burst forth again and caused deep basins did the water pool into the seas, leaving one-third of the planet as dry land. At least, sort of dry. The rain still fell on the land, and it continues to do so.
Rain is water, the source of all life. It is no wonder that water plays such a prominent role int he religious symbolism of the human race, including Christianity. For Christians, water is the element of baptism, which was conceived by John the Baptizer and sanctified by Jesus of Nazareth when he allowed John to dip him in the River Jordan.
The symbolism of the water in baptism is expanded to refer to the life-giving power of the Spirit of God in all of our life, not only in the event of baptism. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that if she knew who he was, she would ask him for "living water." Jesus said, "Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thrirsty" (John 4:14). The Son was promising the Spirit to all who believe in him by faith.
In rainy season we are in a special time in the church in Florida. The great liturgical seasons of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost are behind us. Annual conference has come and gone. The busy time of the school season, when activities in the church resume and visitors from the north arrive, is coming. This is a quieter time of the year. It is a time for personal renewal and refreshment, a time to drink from the living water of the Spirit through the Son. If we will allow ourselves to think according to the images of our faith, the torrents of rain on dark afternoons may come to represent the outpouring of the Holy Spirit whose water refreshes, purifies, and satisfies.
I won't wish you a happy summer, but I do pray that this will be for you a blessed rainy season--in more ways than one.
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