Pastor Nikki's Notions
It's summertime! Often this is the time of year when things slow down around church. Many of our programs are taking a break, lots of folks are traveling around visiting kids and grandkids, our pews are emptier than usual, and if meetings or work can be put off for another time (maybe a time when the weather is not beckoning us outside), they are! Here in Wisconsin, summertime can be such a wonderful reprieve, a time of rest and renewal, a time to settle into the slower rhythms of life.
Personally, I think summer is a great time for reflection and spiritual renewal, a time when we are called upon to stop and smell the roses. To look around us at the beautiful world that God has created, and the beautiful life we lead in it. It’s a time to look to those places where God is at work, where new life is springing forth, where the cycles of life and growth and death move in nature and in our souls. We’re reminded at this time of year that it is incumbent upon us not to miss out on the summertime moments of joy: a beautiful sunrise, blossoming flowers, the heat of the summer sun, or a day at the beach or the lake. Take the opportunity to bask in the goodness of the Son: to slow down, to breathe deep, and to just enjoy life. Even if just for a moment.
As Father Mike Boutin writes in his blog, “What better memory for parents than a child standing on the beach with a bucket and pail making their first sand castle and watching it being washed away by the tide, only to start all over again? Can't that memory become a kind of metaphor for our lives: endings and beginnings as the tides of life swirl around us, and finding the strength and resilience to stand there in the midst of it all, ready to begin again, even when the castles of our dreams are washed away, only to realize that they were made of sand?
Or what about that summertime experience of jumping into the pool on a really hot summer day, bracing yourself for the shock of it all, but knowing that you will be better for it? Doesn't that experience summarize some of the most challenging moments of our lives, when we have to stop just putting our toe in the water, and instead jump in, head first?”
For me, the best memories of summertime have been around a campfire in the densely forested hills of the Kettle Moraine at the end of a long day, wrapped up in a blanket. It seems on those nights, someone was always strumming a guitar, and we’d all be staring up at the stars in awe or admiring the beauty of the embers of the fire casting shadows, throwing sparks. We could hear crickets and frogs filling the night air with their songs. These nights were so serene and joy-filled and reflective. Can't we learn something from those moments about reflectivity, and quiet, and deep gratitude?
Summertime has a lot to teach us in its days. Just take a moment, breathe deep, and don't miss them. And then, pray. Rest fully in God’s presence, in all of the miraculous, profound grace God is working into every inch of our lives. Be affirmed. Be encouraged. Be renewed - by the God who loves you.
Yours in Christ,