I am more aware this year than ever that our summer in northern Michigan is a precious and fleeting gift, to be savored at all cost. Neighbors in my neighborhood who hardly greet each other are quick to make conversation on the street about the beauty of these warm verdant days. Church programming slows down a bit. Folks show up to worship in shorts, on bikes, with dogs in tow. In spite of our city brimming with out-of-town guests, we find our own way to relish walks in the woods, swims in the bay, sitting outside till the last light fades.
This is what the biblical concept of Sabbath is all about. We step away from work and productivity a bit, not because our work is over, but because we need to cease from work sometimes in order to be still and know that God is God. We need to be reminded that we are creatures marked by the Divine, and we are so much more than merely what we do. Jesus spent his first-ever public sermon talking about learning from the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, the great outdoors. John Muir spoke of the importance of learning from the “green scriptures”.
Here’s a quote that says it well. “A few simple tips for life. Feet on the ground, head to the skies, heart open, … quiet mind.” -Rasheed Ogunlaru
We’re stepping in to the glorious month of August. I hope we all will lean into leisure, savoring every day’s slowness before Autumn calls us to attention. I want us to rest up because something quite exciting awaits us in the fall. I don’t want us to miss it! When we return under the dome for weekly worship come September, there will be a soul-stirring line-up of new groups and classes and lectures to check out. We are quite excited as a church to welcome our new Adult Spiritual Education Director, Donna Olendorf. You will like what Donna and others are planning. Here is what she says about her vision to lead at Central –
“My vision is to create a sense of community in which people help one another develop faith and values. I want to know what are your interests? Your needs? What has nourished your spirituality and what are we missing? What new approaches will fire your imagination, elevate your faith, and bring you into relationship with each other and with God?”
So, for now, be lazy whenever possible these dog-days of summer. The orderliness of September will come soon enough. But when it does, let us actively engage our common life as spiritual seekers. Let us be ready to be fully present for the good things God has in store for us here at Central.
Savoring Summer, Anticipating Fall,