Andy’s Flaming Chalice – July 2012

July greetings! We are entering the famous “Dog Days” of summer, often a very warm period variously counted from early July to late August or even September. I always associated “Dog Days” with a blood hound snoozing on a shaded porch: an example worth emulating!
In fact, the term “Dog Days” honors Sirius, the celestial dog. Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all noted that in these weeks the Dog Star Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, rose with the sun. (It no longer does, as our planetary axis shifts.) The rage of Sirius was said to cause punishing heat (sort of a cosmological growl?), a season when “dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid, causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics and phrensies.”,
Blessedly, we’ve evolved to marking the Dog Days with fireworks, picnics, family time and climate control! (And by the way,I am really enjoying the pleasantly cool interior of our Sanctuary even on a warm day, thanks to our lovely and environmentally friendly renovation.)
We talk a lot about Shared Ministry in our congregation. Most simply, this means we charge ourselves with caring for and serving one another. Do you pause to acknowledge your personal ministry outside of Starr King as you go through the week? Every smile, every “thank you,” every sincere “how are you?” might be an example of your ministry to your fellows. Are your ministrations intentional or distracted? All too often, mine can get distracted and automatic, but boy, when someone smiles right at me, my heart truly warms. My job is to pass it along. Sometimes high temperatures bring short tempers, in hustling crowds or hustling traffic. Charity and forbearance are not always my urges, but I love including them in my cherished principles and hope they guide my behavior.
Did you know that Starr King Church has a Covenant of Good Relations, devised by and for our congregation? Check it out at Sunday morning worship and indeed all our times together are ideally a sanctuary of kindness, respect, inclusion and love. To foster this vision, we pledge to strive together to make our interactions supportive and, in times of disagreement , always respectful. Do we blow it occasionally? YES! But each day we have the opportunity to lift our own spirit and those around us, to make this plane of existence incrementally better. July is also National Ice Cream Month. Coincidence? The satisfaction of daily improving the interdependent web of existence with simple loving gestures and kind words surely is ice cream for the soul. So have two scoops!