“I can’t wait for summer.” My kids … almost daily.
“I don’t want school to end …” Also my kids … almost daily.
I’m right there with them. For many of us, the promise of summer holds an opportunity to slow down, reflect, and recharge. Even if we don’t have “big plans”, there is something about Summer which represents the chance to embrace a change in routine, a slower pace, even if it’s only for a week or two. On the other hand, most of us thrive on familiarity and routine, structure and rhythm. In that sense, the shift in or loss of familiar routines can put us off balance, which isn’t always a bad thing, however uncomfortable it might be.
One of the benefits of getting out of routine is that it offers the chance to add intentionality to the things that we do. It reframes the things that are so familiar that we barely think about them. It gives meaning to things we otherwise take for granted.
One example of this is how we might handle familiar scripture. I have known the words to the 23rd Psalm for as long as I can remember. It’s only a handful of verses so it’s easy to rhyme them off all at once. So easy that sometimes we don’t register how important every single one of those words is and just how well they reflect our faith.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anoints my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
When you join us for worship through the summer months, we’ll be breaking down these verses, delighting in the familiarity and challenging ourselves to allow these statements of faith and promise to shape and add intention to our daily lives.
This is what has me thinking about summer, rest and plans. So often, we equate summer with rest or the absence of work but without intentionality it can quickly simply float by without meaning and leave us wondering where the time went. But what if this summer, we took these same verses and invited God to be truly present in our rest and in whatever new routines we might adopt? How does God restore your soul when you find moments of relaxation? How does God’s presence and protection bring us comfort?
This looks different for everyone, just as we know that parents of young children do not “rest” on vacation, so too does the way that the Holy Spirit moves and speaks into our lives. But still, the words of David are true for each of us, God brings us to rest in green pastures, leads us to still waters and longs to restore our souls.
My prayer for each of us this Summer is that we might find the rest and renewal that our souls long for but that in our rest we might also find intentional moments of giving thanks for God’s constant presence with us, that the rest we find is not simply the absence of work, but truly a gift from the one who created and loves us.
— Rev. Bethany McCaffrey
We continue to strongly encourage the use of masks in crowded, indoor spaces, but as of July 3rd, 2022 masks will be optional in worship.
We ask everyone attending to please continue to carefully monitor their health and risk status and to join us online if you are not feeling well or have recently been exposed to any illness.
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