There is nothing quite like summer.
The thought of it gets us through winter. We get a taste of it during the hors-d’oeuvre that is spring.
And then, at last, it’s here with all of its opportunities and memories. It wends its way from July to September as we try to soak it all in; the peak of it all being the start of August.
“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.” —Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
There are always those, and I count myself among them sometimes, who wonder if we shouldn’t do more in the summer here at FCC. After all, isn’t it a waste to let these weeks pass unfilled with church programming of one kind or another?
But, you know what? It is okay to rest. It is okay to take a break.
This program year has been one of revitalization and return. We have been blessed to gather again in person and rediscover the value—too often taken for granted—of being the church, together.
This program year we have re-centered ourselves in Christ. And now, as June draws to a close, I have an image of Jesus at the wheel of an old Ford station wagon with all of us crammed in the back–windows down, a warm wind blowing hair this way and that—on our way to a cabin by a lake where there’s no agenda beyond hanging out.
It’s important to set a regular routine aside sometimes and just be. We live in a culture that values productivity and staying on the go. Anything less is seen as wasting time. Consequently, taking time away or powering down your schedule is often done with a certain level of guilt. Be assured, however, that it is not time wasted. Rest has value and is important if we are to stay centered and keep our priorities straight.
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.” —John Lubbock
Rest is restorative not only for those active in the church but for the church community as a whole. Rest allows us to begin our next program year with our batteries charged and with fresh excitement for what is possible.
Rest reminds us that we have an interior life. It reminds us that, when we are active, we aren’t just plowing ahead as if we’re running from something. It reminds us of why we do what we do. Being active should come, first, from a place of quiet.
None of this is to say that the world isn’t in tough shape. It isn’t to say that there aren’t many in our church who are facing significant challenges right now.
It is simply to say this: The only way to steady your compass is to stand still for a moment. Only then can you figure out where you are and where you should be headed.
Summertime gives us that chance.
As we head into these summer days, too brief really, I wish all of you a time of guilt-free rest and restoration. Work and routines must carry on, of course, but even in those times of busyness, be sure to carve out moments to notice the good that is around you. It is a precious time of year.
See you in church,