The Church in Summer
Summertime and the livin’ is easy… . That’s what the old song says. And that’s how we would like to experience it. Movies, books, TV shows, and the like give life to this semi-myth. There are countless images of happy people relaxing pool – or – beach-side, sipping lemonade, getting a golden tan, not having a care in the world. Or maybe you like hitting the road in your home-away-from-home RV. Hike in the forest. Fish in cool, clear streams. Literally follow your team across the country. See the USA in your Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge Ram, etc. Sounds nice. I’d like to try it someday.
The church in summer can be a little slower-moving than the rest of the year. Members go on vacation, so attendance may be down somewhat. The priest gets to take some time off, maybe 3 or 4 Sundays (and even during the week).
Then again, maybe things aren’t so slow. There’s Vacation Bible School, an all-time favorite of mine. Put together a staff and make sure they are trained and ready. Solicit donations. Purchase supplies. Advertise for children to attend. Then there is the week it all comes together (or 2 weeks, hopefully next year). Finally, clean-up and debriefing. Believe me, it is all worth it. Friendships are established and strengthened – some lasting a lifetime. Kids and staff learn a little more about God and how to live in love and service to each other and to the Lord (plus, it gives parents a little break).
Just like any other time of year, the unexpected can and does pop up during the summer. My own experience over far too many summers is that my own vacation time offers no immunity. The needs of others in time of trial take precedence over any priestly vacation. That is a necessary and vital part of our calling.
It is August. School starts up again in the middle of the month. Enjoy this last week or two or three before the rats start racing in earnest once more. I’ll try to kick back a little and maybe sleep a bit longer. Because remember, once summer is over we have a lot to do. Get those school supplies for our needier students. Prepare for Wednesday’s Kids. There is our upcoming first Gospel Fest, October 14-15. Get ready for the Bread (etc.) Bake for Thanksgiving and Christmas (they will be here before you know it). It may be summer, but already our thoughts are far beyond sun and sand (a lot of that here).
Get some rest if you can. Enjoy whatever time off you may have. Just remember that life in Jesus doesn’t stop in the summer. It may take on a slightly different form, but it is always there. Keep your eyes and your heart open. Jesus is still looking for you and he doesn’t get a vacation. God’s blessings be with all.
Beverly A. Tasy
St. Christopher's Episcopal Church