One of the hardest transitions for me as a pastor every year is when the calendar slides from July to August. It is still summer, but fall is already casting a long shadow I can’t ignore. School supplies fill the store shelves. Gardens are producing in abundance (well, ours isn’t, but that is a topic for another day). End of summer adventures are squeezed into the schedule.
This week has me getting down to the serious work of fall planning. Lots of things start up in the fall. There is the re-gathering of the diaspora of summer adventurers we call “Homecoming Sunday” (September 9, if you’re curious), there is a shiny, new sermon series in the works (called Connecting and Belonging), and finance team and I are working on what we hope will be a fun (yes, you read me right, FUN!) stewardship campaign before advent. I am looking forward to seeing all these things take shape.
On the other hand, I don’t want to let go of summer. My flower beds are finally beginning to fill in, although I can still hear the siren call of all the plants that would add additional beauty and serenity. (The local nurseries love to see me pull in the driveway.) I love how the back yard is shaping up. Last year I could see the possibilities. I wanted it to be a place of peace and respite, and where we could offer friendship and hospitality. And it is! I love having people come over to sit on our back patio and enjoy the flowers, the shade, the gentle sound of our fountain and wind chimes as we share stories and a cool beverage. (Let me know if you want to come, you would be most welcome!)
I don’t want to rush through these next few weeks. There are many, many things on the to-do list, and the calendar is already getting full as we move toward a different rhythm. But I hope we will all have some moments of sabbath rest, even in the midst of this transition. Sometimes it is a matter of intention and attention, and other times, it means stepping away. Next week, I will be taking a few days to be intentional about rest and presence. I will be heading to my happy place—the beach—to enjoy the power of surf, sand, wind and sky to quiet heart, mind and body. There isn’t much on the agenda for these few days, except to eat as much fresh seafood as possible, watch the waves, have great conversations with a dear friend, and walk in the healing presence of the Holy One.
Chris and Mike will be around for any emergencies. And, I will be back in the saddle to preach next Sunday. Don’t forget to savor. Don’t forget silence. Don’t forget that you are beloved.